Imperial College London announced that Alice Gast will be its 16th president and noted that she also will be the first woman and the first from overseas to hold this position. The appointment will become effective in September of this year.

Gast has been president of Lehigh University since 2006. She will step down from that position in July. Her accomplishments as leader of Lehigh include strengthening the undergraduate and graduate programs, increasing fundraising yields, growing STEM related courses and research, expanding the University’s campus and furthering its international presence.

Prior to Lehigh, Gast was vice president for research and associate provost at MIT, and was chair of the chemical engineering department. Earlier in her career, she was professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.

In 2010, Gast was named a U.S. Science Envoy by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for which she travelled to Central Asia and the Caucasus regions to advise the White House and State Department on the potential for collaborations on energy, education, public-private partnerships and more. In addition, she serves on a number of corporate and education boards, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Gast earned her Ph.D. from Princeton in 1984 and her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, both in chemical engineering.