Professor Julie Mennell made history as she was inaugurated as the University of Cumbria's first woman vice chancellor.
In front of a packed congregation at Carlisle Cathedral, Prof Mennell said she was looking to bring her experience from working at three other universities to the role.
She said: "I'm really proud to be vice chancellor of the University of Cumbria. It's a very special university that is providing opportunities for people across the county and further afield.
"I feel that I can bring my experience from working at three other very similar universities in the north east to the role to help take the University of Cumbria forward."
The Archbishop of York and university chancellor Dr John Sentamu said he was looking forward to working alongside Prof Mennell, with the university preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.
He added: "The university has a reputation for providing opportunities for people in Cumbria who are then able to go on and stay in the county."
The ceremony followed a week of graduations from the university, also held at the cathedral.
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