Trinity University named its 20th president and first woman to serve in the role Tuesday, about eight months after Danny Anderson announced his retirement.

Vanessa Beasley will begin leading the private liberal arts university before classes start this fall, according to a press release. She currently serves as vice provost for academic affairs, dean of residential faculty and an associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University.

Tuesday was Anderson’s last day as president, a role he had filled since 2015. Megan Mustain, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will act as interim president until Beasley begins.

“Dr. Beasley is an outstanding leader with strong values who will guide Trinity in its quest to become a nationally recognized liberal arts university,” Melody Meyer, Trinity Board of Trustees chair and Trinity alumna, said in a statement. “She has deep experience in academic excellence and is exceptional at building relationships locally and nationally.”

Vanessa Beasley, Trinity University’s 20th president, will begin her tenure before classes start in the fall.

Beasley’s academic expertise spans the rhetoric of United States presidents and political rhetoric on immigration, as well as media and politics. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and theatre arts from Vanderbilt and a doctorate in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

“In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to learning more about this great city, but here’s what I know today: Trinity is counted among one of the nation’s top liberal arts universities, and the relationship between San Antonio and Trinity will only grow stronger and greater,” Beasley said in a statement.

A committee curated by the board that included trustees, faculty, administrators, students and alumni conducted the search for Trinity’s new president.

Earlier this year, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education reclassified Trinity as a National Liberal Arts Institution, reflecting the university’s mission. With this reclassification, Trinity University is now in the National Liberal Arts category in the U.S. News & World Report, which previously ranked Trinity No. 1 in the West for 29 of 30 years. About 2,500 students attend the university.

Brooke Crum covered education for the San Antonio Report.