The Indiana University Board of Trustees has selected Pamela Whitten as the university’s 19th president. Whitten, who is currently president of Kennesaw State University in Georgia, will become IU’s first female president when she begins her new role in July.

Whitten succeeds Michael McRobbie, who last August announced plans to retire at the end of the current academic year after 24 years in Bloomington.

During a news conference this morning, Whitten said she is excited to join a university that is poised for even greater progress than it has already seen.

“IU’s research enterprise is truly a force and it is well positioned to meet the biggest challenges facing our communities and our society at large,” Whitten said. “And of course, key to this strength is a world-class faculty, whose scholarship, research, and creative activities will continue to drive the reputation of our university and attract the best and the brightest students from Indiana and beyond.”

During her time at Kennesaw State, which is the second-largest university in Georgia, IU says Whitten helped transition the school into a formal research university. IU also touts Whitten’s efforts to increase summer enrollment at Kennesaw, and create or expand high-demand majors such as cybersecurity, engineering, computer science and data analytics.

“As IU’s first female president, she follows an accomplished group of distinguished IU presidents,” Michael Mirro, chair of the IU Board of Trustees. “Her work advancing one of the nation’s leading research universities will be championed by a wealth of faculty and staff talent at a time of record-level research funding and philanthropic support.”

Whitten says becoming IU’s first female president is “incredibly gratifying.”

“But, I will tell you that’s not really the important story here,” she said. “The important story is that I am coming to a university that is enthusiastic, frankly, if not ecstatic about the opportunity to bring in a female as the leader of its university and I think that’s a very, very important and strong statement about IU.”

Whitten has spent the majority of her career at Michigan State University, where she held numerous roles, including dean of the university’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences. She did have a one-year stint as a professor in the Department of Communication and Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University in 2005.

IU says Whitten will meet with various student, faculty, and staff groups as part of a transition plan before taking the assuming the role of president on July 1.

Whitten says she is excited to join a university that is poised for even greater progress than it has already seen.