The new president of Texas A&M University is the first woman and first Hispanic to hold the job.

Elsa Murano, a former A&M administrator who fled Cuba as a child, was named by the A&M systems Board of Regents Thursday. She was the only finalist for the post.

"I am grateful to live in a country that has provided so many opportunities, including the great honor to serve as president of Texas A&M University," she said.

Murano was the vice chancellor and dean of A&M's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Before that, she was undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2001 to 2004.

Murano, 48, fled Cuba with her family in the early 1960s. Born in Havana, she and her family lived in several Latin American countries before moving to Miami.

She earned a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Florida International University, then a master's degree in anaerobic microbiology and a Ph.D. in food science and technology from Virginia Tech University.