WATERVILLE — Thomas College has hired a Maine economist and business leader as its first female president, its trustees announced Friday.

Laurie Lachance, the president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation, was named after a national search. She will begin her new job on July 1.

Lachance has led the Maine Development Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes business and economic growth, for the past eight years.

Its programs include Leadership Maine, Policy Leaders Academy, the Maine Downtown Center, the Maine Employers’ Initiative, and the Maine Economic Growth Council. 

Lachance received her MBA from Thomas in 1992. Prior to joining MDF, she served as Maine State Economist for 11 years, under three governors.

“Laurie is a brilliant match for Thomas in every way,” said Todd Smith, the college board co-chair and chair of the presidential search. “She has the skills and passion to lead the College into its next phase of excellence.”

Lachance and her husband, Dave Lachance, live in Manchester with their two sons, Andrew and Michael.

The college will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday in the Student Commons Function Room.