ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state Sen. Catharine Young, a leading voice for Republicans and upstate communities, is resigning her seat for a job with Cornell University.

Young, of Olean, will start March 11 as the director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell. Started last year, the state-funded center works to boost New York's agricultural economy.

Young spent 20 years in the Legislature and is a former chairwoman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

Announcing her resignation on Thursday, Young said serving her upstate district has been her life's "deepest honor."

Last fall Young lost a bid to lead the Senate's GOP minority to Sen. John Flanagan of Long Island.

Young's seat will remain vacant until a special election is held.