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Lehigh official to be president of UAH

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Trustees selected Lehigh University administrator David Williams as president of The University of Alabama in Huntsville on Wednesday after a search that lasted nearly a year.

Williams, research provost at the school in Bethlehem, Pa., replaces Frank Franz, who is retiring after more than 15 years at UAH.

With more than 7,000 students on a campus located just miles from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, UAH ranks among the nation's top schools for conducting research sponsored by the space agency.

Williams will work alongside Franz until July 1 and then take over as president, said Malcolm Portera, chancellor of the three-campus University of Alabama System.

"I think this is a perfect fit for UAH," Portera said. "I don't think the search committee could have done a better job."

Williams was named during a called meeting of the system trustees.

The only other finalist for the post was James Roberts, vice provost of the University of Kansas in Lawrence and president of the KU Center for Research Inc.

"It's a great honor and distinction," said Williams.

Besides his administrative role at Lehigh, Williams is a senior professor of materials science and engineering. He has extensive experience with the Army Research Laboratory and NASA and in developing partnerships through his work as director of the Lehigh Microscopy school and creator of the Center for Optical Technologies.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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