Imperial College London is set to appoint its first female president in September.
Prof Alice P. Gast, who has served as president of Leigh University in Pennsylvania since 2006, will take over from the current Imperial president Sir Keith O’Nions, to become the 16th head of the university.
As a US citizen born in Texas, Prof Gast will also be the first Imperial president to be recruited from overseas, and has experience working in education in Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
She has also served as the vice president for research and associate provost at MIT, and as a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University.
55-year-old Prof Gast will lead Imperial’s development of its new 25-acre campus Imperial West in White City.
“I have always been excited by what goes on at Imperial, one of the world's greatest scientific universities,” said Prof Gast.
“With its unique focus on science, engineering, medicine and business, and its integrated mission to teach, research and translate its work for the benefit of society, Imperial has a great leadership role in the world.”
In 2010, Prof Gast was reported to have been on a pay package of $918,000 at Leigh University, making her the second-highest-paid private college president in Pennsylvania.