Quillen, a historian, will become Davidson’s first woman president in the college’s 174-year history and its first president in more than 40 years who is not a Davidson graduate.
She follows Tom Ross, who left Davidson last year to become president of the University of North Carolina system.
Most recently, Quillen has been vice president for international and interdisciplinary initiatives at Rice, which is located in Houston. She will begin serving as Davidson’s 18th president on Aug. 1.
Quillen has been part of the history faculty at Rice since 1990. She previously served as the director of the university’s Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, and from 2006 to 2010 as vice provost for academic affairs.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in European history from Princeton University.
Located in the town of Davidson, 19 miles north of Charlotte, Davidson College was founded in 1837 by the Presbyterians of North Carolina. A private liberal arts college with a current enrollment of about 1,700 students, Davidson is routinely ranked as one of the best colleges of its kind in the United States.