U of S president Peter MacKinnon greets the woman who will succeed him next year, Ilene Busch-Vishniac. (CBC)

The University of Saskatchewan will have a female president for the first time next year when Ilene Busch-Vishniac takes over from Peter MacKinnon.

The university's board of governors announced Monday that Busch-Vishniac, who has an engineering background and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will become the institution's ninth president on July 1, 2012.

MacKinnon will have served 13 years as president when he steps down.

Currently the provost and vice-president academic at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., Busch-Vishniac had earlier served as dean of engineering at Johns Hopkins University and associate chair of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas (Austin).