MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Board of Regents has formally approved the hiring of General Electric executive Seth Bodnar as president of the University of Montana.

On a unanimous voice vote Thursday, the regents approved Bodnar's contract with a salary of $313,845.

Regent Martha Sheehy said the search committee received strong applicants, and higher education officials were excited to welcome Bodnar.

The Missoulian reports that Bodnar is a Rhodes scholar with two master's degrees from the University of Oxford, and he's a Green Beret who graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

At the meeting, Bodnar said he's dedicated much of his life to serving his country, and an institution of higher education that places importance on quality, accessibility and affordability is critical for the nation.

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com