"Although it was not an easy decision, I believe that it is the best course of action for me and the school," said Newsome. "The time has come for me to focus on other endeavors and new opportunities. Shaw University will always be dear to me."
According to the school's website, Newsome is the thirteenth president of the historically black Baptist private school located in Raleigh. Before coming to Shaw, he was dean of Howard University's Divinity School.
"We would like to thank Dr. Newsome for his service to the university. After much thought, we have collectively determined that in light of the sabbatical and the need to move the university in a different direction, it is time that Shaw move forward with new leadership," said Shaw University Board of Trustees Chairman Willie Gary.
School officials said Newsome would not return to the presidency after the one year sabbatical is over.
Shaw is facing challenging times mainly brought on by the economy. Reports have questioned the school's debt load estimated at $20 million, and it has had to cut staff pay and suspend retirement benefits for employees. In an interview with Eyewitness News earlier this year, Newsome said he had even cut his own pay by 20 percent.