The BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Bridget Kendall, is leaving the corporation to become the first female master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
Ms Kendall joined the BBC in 1983 as a trainee for the World Service and has reported on major global conflicts.
She will take up her post in July, taking over from the current master, Professor Adrian Dixon.
Peterhouse - Cambridge University's oldest college - has only been admitting women since 1985.
Ms Kendall said: "I feel very privileged to have been chosen by the fellows of Peterhouse to be their next master.
"On my visits to the college I have been struck by its friendly atmosphere and the way it has turned its reputation of being the university's oldest and smallest college to its advantage - balancing a respect for traditions with a readiness to adapt and innovate, and remaining small enough to foster an intimate environment, yet seek engagement with the wider world.
"I am thrilled to be joining the college and look forward to collaborating with everyone at Peterhouse on the challenges and opportunities ahead."
Professor Dixon said: "Bridget will bring to the college her exceptional skills in communication and knowledge of international affairs. She also provides an outstanding role model for students and young academics alike.
"Peterhouse has enjoyed great benefit by electing masters from a wide range of backgrounds: these include the church, the armed forces, the diplomatic services as well as academia.
"A distinguished BBC correspondent brings yet a new dimension and I greatly look forward to working with Bridget during the summer handover."