Barbara Lettiere has had a long relationship with Immaculata University as an alumna, a donor, and for the last seven years a member of the board of trustees, its chair until a few months ago.

On Tuesday, she was named the first lay president of the Catholic college in Chester County.

Lettiere, a 1972 graduate who had until recently served as vice president for finance and administration at Trinity Washington University, will replace Sister R. Patricia Fadden, who will retire July 1 after 15 years at the helm.

A university spokeswoman said Lettiere recused herself from the board several months ago when she became a candidate for president.

Lettiere, 66, was one of three finalists for the job. The others were: William J. Bisset, vice president for enrollment management at Manhattan College in New York, and Donald Boomgaarden, former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Scranton.

The university did not release her salary or details of her contract.

"I have had the opportunity to work with Barbara Lettiere for several years and I cannot think of a better, more committed person to lead Immaculata at this juncture," Phyllis Bellopede, a board member and chair of the presidential search committee, said in a statement.

Lettiere began at Trinity in 2002. Before that, she worked at Bell Atlantic Corp. in operations, marketing, and finance. She was president of Bell Atlantic Federal Systems for five years.

She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Immaculata and a master's in economics and statistics from the University of Notre Dame. She also has an M.B.A. in Decision Sciences and Finance from Rider University.

Immaculata last month announced it would reset its tuition, cutting the sticker price by 23 percent. It also said it would go SAT/ACT optional. Immaculata, like many colleges, has struggled in recent years to attract enough students as the number of high school graduates has declined and higher education has become more competitive. Overall full-time undergraduate enrollment this year is 879.