The project to set up a dedicated university for Cumbria has taken a major step forward, with the appointment of its vice-chancellor.
The university is due to open in August next year
Prof Chris Carr has been appointed to the post at the University of Cumbria when it opens in August 2007.
He has been chief executive and principal of St Martin's College for nine years.
Prof Carr said it would be a challenging role but he was looking forward to leading the university.
The new university will be created through the amalgamation of St Martin's College and Cumbria Institute of the Arts.
Prof Carr said: "It's quite a challenge, it's an enormous privilege and it's a big responsibility but I am looking forward to all of it."
He added: "It seemed clear to me really ever since I became closely involved in higher education in Cumbria that the only long-term satisfactory solution to bringing higher education into Cumbria was its own designated university.
"Universities don't come into being overnight. There's a lot of planning, development and money required but thankfully we are on the threshold of it happening and that's why it's so exciting."
The university's administrative headquarters will be in Carlisle and there will be centres around the county. In the first 10 years, the plan is to increase student numbers to 20,000.
One of Prof Carr's plans is to develop links with institutions overseas, such as Australia and the USA.