Ana Mari Cauce is the new president of the University of Washington. The university's board of regents made the announcement after a brief meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Cauce was named interim president of the university in March after former president Michael Young left the UW to take the top job at Texas A&M, along with a hefty salary bump.
Cauce, 59, has spent the majority of her career at the UW and enjoys strong support from faculty and staff. She's the first woman to be named as permanent president of the university.
She was named president after the Board of Regents performed a nationwide search to fill the position.
Young's departure was unexpected, and some regents reportedly had voiced support for hiring from within the university in hopes of gaining a greater commitment to the UW.
Cauce has been with the UW for 29 years. She’s been a professor of psychology and chair of two departments. Before being appointed interim president she spent three years as provost, overseeing academics.
After her appointment as interim president, she spoke to KUOW in March about the importance of her background.
“I came to the academy as a teacher first and actually that role and my experience and my valuing of the role as teacher does do me well when I’m talking to an external audience, whether it’s legislatures or not,” said Cauce, who noted that she was teaching a freshman seminar that semester. “I very much see myself as a professor at the university, and I’m not taking that hat off.”
Hear that March interview with Cauce, in which she also discusses the fiscal problems facing the UW:
Cauce also is the first Cuban-American to hold the position at UW. In an interview this spring, Cauce talked to PRI’s The Takeaway about how her family’s experience as immigrants shaped her views on the importance of diversity.
She said that a key point came when her brother, Cesar Cauce, was murdered at age 25 by Ku Klux Klansmen at an anti-Klan rally in North Carolina in 1979.
“In one second, an entire future for our family was gone,” she said. “What some people consider small things — the wrong word or a not particularly welcoming action — can end up building an environment that can lead to pretty devastating consequences.”
The UW launched a campus race and equity initiative earlier this year.