Bill Cosby resigned Monday from Temple University's Board of Trustees, a position he has held since 1982.
Cosby's resignation came as trustees were prepared to meet and discuss his connections to the university and as alumni pressured Temple through a change.org petition to sever ties.
Twenty women have now accused Cosby of sexual assault, bringing his legacy and connections under intense scrutiny. The comedian has denied the allegations repeatedly and he has not been charged with any crime.
"I have always been proud of my association with Temple University," Cosby said in a brief statement to fellow trustees. "I have always wanted to do what would be in the best interests of the University and its students. As a result, I have tendered my resignation from temple University Board of Trustees."
Board chairman and attorney Patrick J. O'Connor said in an email to Cosby and other board members that the board had accepted Cosby's resignation and thanked him for his service.
He called Cosby's decision to resign a "noble thing" and referred to the comedian a "beacon of light" for the university during a phone call with NBC10's George Spencer.
[Cosby] "did the right thing for his love of this school," said O'Connor.
Connor had defended Cosby in a civil suit filed by a former Temple basketball employee who accused Cosby of molesting her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion a year earlier. Cosby and the woman settled the lawsuit. More than a dozen other women have come forward since the lawsuit was filed to make similar claims, including several who have gone public this month.
Cosby is arguably Temple's most famous alum.
After flunking out of Philadelphia's Central High School and getting his GED in the Navy, Cosby was given an athletic scholarship to Temple. In August, when the school honored him for his writing skills, it memorialized an essay Cosby wrote about Temple's impact on his life and in particular, how he felt during his freshman year when an English teacher selected his paper to read to the class.
"This experience lifted me. It showed me that I had something to say, and that I could make a connection with people," Cosby said.
The 77-year-old entertainer has helped raise millions of dollars for the school. His most recent fund raising effort is with a campaign to raise $100 million to help make college more affordable.