"His countless awards and expansive reach through his national syndication speak volumes about his influence and artistic excellence," Wischnowski said. "He will be missed."
Auth, 69, will be taking his pen to WHYY's NewsWorks.org where he will be "digital artist in residence." Newsworks is headed by Chris Satullo, a former Inquirer editorial page editor.
Auth said he made the decision to leave as he sorted through 8,000 cartoons for an exhibition opening June 1 at the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown.
"I realized I wanted to spend more time doing different kinds of projects," Auth said.
What kind of projects?
"It's going to be a work in progress," he said. "But I will be continuing to do iPad movies and two or three political cartoons a week for syndication. I'm going to be really busy."
Auth's departure comes during a time of upheaval at the Inquirer and Daily News. The papers, along with Philly.com, are offering buyouts to 37 newsroom employees and moving newsgathering operations to 8th and Market Streets.
Many of his longtime colleagues took the news of Auth's departure hard.
"The Inquirer without Tony Auth is like City Hall without William Penn on top. He's been that paper's consistent editorial window on the world's events for nearly 40 years," said Signe Wilkinson, editorial cartoonist for the Inquirer's sister paper, the Daily News. "And, in the shrinking fraternity of American editorial cartoonists he's revered. Personally, I'll miss a great friend and colleague."
Harold Jackson, the current editor of the Inquirer's editorial page, acknowledged the sting of Auth's leaving.
"As much as our readers are going to miss Tony's regular contributions to the Inquirer's editorial pages, I'm going to miss him more as a colleague," said Jackson. "Tony's insight and perspective are valuable to the editorial board. His decision to leave represents a great loss that the paper will feel for a long time.
"I wish him well."
Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or email@example.com.