BIDDEFORD, Maine — The University of New England announced Tuesday that James Herbert, a Drexel University administrator, will become the school’s next president.

The announcement caps a nearly yearlong search for the university’s next leader, after President Danielle Ripich announced last May that she planned to retire. Ripich served 11 years as president.

“As our [search] began, we solicited input from UNE’s faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, donors and students to get their vision for UNE and understand the qualities that members of the university community thought would be most essential in our next leader,” Gloria Pinza, chairwoman of the search committee, said during a Tuesday news conference. “At the end of the day, one candidate stood out clearly from the others.”

Herbert currently serves as vice provost and dean of the graduate college at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, which has more than 25,000 enrolled students. UNE is the state’s largest private university, with an enrollment around 12,000. In addition to Biddeford, UNE also operates campuses in Portland and Tangier, Morocco.

Herbert served in several administrative and faculty roles during his career there. His education background is primarily in psychology, earning degrees from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and the University of Texas at Austin.

He said he was “humbled” to be selected for the post.

“There is widespread agreement across higher education that the coming decade will be the most challenging one yet,” Herbert said. “As our economy evolves at an unprecedented rate, colleges and universities are subject to increasing competition for students and increasing price sensitivity. The students and parents who entrust us to provide a first-rate education expect us to deliver on that promise, and they deserve nothing less.”

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