UConn Appoints First Female President

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The University of Connecticut has a new president and she is the first female to lead the university since it was founded in 1881.

Susan Herbst, 47, is taking the job. She has served as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia, and professor of public policy She starts at UConn in July and will earn $500,000 per year -- $145,000 will be paid from the UConn Foundation.  

More than 100 people applied for the job. The Board of Trustees met at 2:45 p.m. on Monday and chose UConn’s 15th president during a closed session. Then, they held an open session and news conference to announce the pick.

“We live in a time that holds great promise but one that also presents formidable challenges. I look forward to working to ensure that the University of Connecticut continues to be the dynamic, robust institution it has become as we chart new progress and strive for even greater achievements,” Herbst said.

The decision comes as UConn’s football team prepares to go to the Fiesta Bowl and UConn women’s basketball gets a chance to break UCLA men’s 88-game winning streak in college basketball.

It also comes as Gov. M. Jodi Rell is leaving office.

"Susan is dynamic and energetic and will be an outstanding leader for the university community for years to come,” Rell said. “An accomplished scholar, Susan is also down-to-earth and personable.  It's a new day at UConn and she represents the new face of enthusiasm, energy and excellence.  She will bring a new vision and she will lead UConn into the top tier of public research universities.”

This is a homecoming of sorts for Herbst, who was born in New York City and was raised in Peeksill, New York.

Former UConn President Philip Austin stepped in to served as interim president soon after Michael Hogan made the surprise announcement in the spring that he was leaving to become president of the University of Illinois. Hogan's starting salary in 2007 was $550,000.

Herbst will earn less " in light of Connecticut’s troubled economy and the financial challenges on the horizon for both the state and the university," according to a news release from the school. 

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