Richard Lariviere, a Sanskrit scholar and dean of liberal arts at the University of Texas at Austin, is Kansas University's new provost and executive vice chancellor.
Lariviere, 56, will replace David Shulenburger, who is stepping down after 13 years in the seat. Lariviere's salary will be $278,000.
"All the people he came into contact with seemed very impressed by him," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "I think he has a very clear understanding of the values of KU. I think he's a person who will fit in very well with the KU community."
Hemenway said Lariviere's appointment does not mark a turning point for the university.
"We had an excellent provost for over a decade," Hemenway said. "Dave did an excellent job of moving KU forward. I think that Richard will be able to build from the platform that David Shulenburger established."
An Illinois native, Lariviere is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the University of Pennsylvania. He is married to Janis Worchester Lariviere and has a daughter, Anne.
Hemenway said he looks forward to introducing Lariviere to KU.
"I didn't know him prior to this search," Hemenway said. "I feel like I've gotten to know him quite well during this search process."
Lariviere, who will be in Lawrence today, said funding issues will be a top challenge, as well as KU's struggle to deal with a backlog of building maintenance needs.
Shulenburger has been a strong proponent of selective admissions at KU. Lariviere said he needs to talk with people about the topic.
"It doesn't do anyone any good to admit students to any institutions who aren't adequately prepared to succeed there," he said.
At UT, Lariviere also is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker chair in the humanities and a fellow in the IC2 Institute, a research center.
He is a professor of Sanskrit and an expert on Indian legal history. He is a corporate consultant who specializes in advising companies that do business in India.
He served as director of Asian studies and associate vice president for international programs at UT before being named dean in 1999.
He has been at UT since 1982.
"I'm coming for the long term," he said. "I haven't moved for 24 years. I move every 24 years, maybe."
Lariviere bested contenders from the University of Colorado, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the position. A fifth candidate dropped from the running before meeting with faculty, staff and others.
Jeff Aube, head of the search committee, said KU had strong candidates.
Lariviere "enjoyed very, very wide support from the people we talked to," Aube said.