Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is stepping down to take over as president of the University of California.
Napolitano will head California's premier university system overseeing the 10 UC campuses throughout the state. She will also become the first woman to hold the job in the systems 145-year history.
UC Regents announced the nomination Friday and admit the choice is different from the academics who have held the job in the past.
"While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice," said UC Regent Sherry Lansing, who headed the search committee. "Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university."
Napolitano will be in charge of the UC system's $24 billion annual budget, 230,000 students, 191,000 faculty and staff, five medical centers and three national laboratories.
Students at UC Santa Barbara hope the change in leadership will mean a change in attitude towards many campus issues.
"The main change we'd like to see is more engagement with students," UCSB Student Body President Jonathan Abboud said. "Taking our input more seriously."
The job comes with a significant pay raise. As Homeland Security Chief, Napolitano makes $200,000 annually. Compare that with current UC President Mark Yudof, he makes $591,000 annually and Napolitano will make around the same.
UC Regents are expected to approve her nomination as the 20th UC president next Thursday during a meeting in San Francisco.