SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The University of Utah's senior vice president will serve as the university's first female president.

The Utah State Board of Regents selected Ruth V. Watkins as the new university president in a unanimous vote on Thursday.

Watkins will take over for retiring University President David Pershing who entered the office in 2012.

Pershing will stay in the position through the upcoming legislative session.

Watkins will begin her presidency in the spring.

Pershing says he will stay at the university as a chemical engineering professor and eventually retire.