Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Former President Barack Obama's top health administrator was named Thursday as the new top executive at American University -- the school's first female president.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who ran the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for two and-a-half years at the end of Obama's administration, will now become the top director at the prestigious Washington, D.C., institution.
"My family and I are honored and excited to become a part of this vibrant AU community," Burwell said in a statement Thursday. "American University's distinctive mix of academic strengths, its influential scholars, engaged students, successful alumni and extraordinary location are great assets."
Burwell, the university's 15th president, will succeed Neil Kerwin on June 1. The announcement caps what had been an intensive national search, the school said.
"She fosters research and scholarship, and turns them into action. She embraces and leverages the strengths of a large, diverse institution to advance its goals, and she is able to convey complex ideas to a wide range of audiences," Kiho Kim, a member of the school's Presidential Search Committee, said.
Burwell left her government post on Jan. 20, along with the rest of Obama's team, when President Donald Trump was inaugurated. Before she became health secretary, Burwell was Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget for a year, and also served as deputy chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.