AUGUSTA — The University of Maine at Augusta has selected James Conneely as its new president.

Conneely, a senior consultant at Keeling & Associates Inc. in Massachusetts, was announced as the school’s leader Tuesday morning during a ceremony in the Fireside Lounge at the Randall Student Center on the Augusta campus. His first day on the job will be Jan. 19.

Conneely “has built a 30-year career identifying, enrolling, supporting and graduating the very same students we work so hard to reach here at UMA,” University of Maine System Chancellor James Page said in a statement before the ceremony.

More than a third of the students Conneely has served have been adults, which make up the majority of UMA’s student body, Page added.

Conneely, who received his doctorate in higher education from Georgia State University, is spending the week in the area to meet with faculty and staff. He and his wife, Becky, are also searching for a home, and the couple plan to relocate to the Augusta area this month.

The Long Island native’s contract runs through June 30, 2018, and will pay him $192,000 annually. The deal can be extended each July 1 starting in 2017.

UMA’s top leader position has been in flux since Allyson Handley left the university to take a job in California in 2014. Glenn Cummings, former president and executive director of Good Will-Hinckley and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, took over as interim president at UMA after that, and in June he was named president of the University of Southern Maine. Rebecca Wyke, the University of Maine System’s chief financial officer, took over as interim president after Cummings left.

In a statement, Wyke said she enjoyed serving on campus and that “the faculty and staff at UMA bring incredible energy, talent and devotion to the job of educating learners of all ages and backgrounds.”

University of Maine spokesman Dan Demeritt said Wyke will return to her position as the vice chancellor for finance and administration and treasurer once Conneely takes over at UMA in mid-January.

Marjorie Medd, chair of the UMA Presidential Search Committee and member of the system’s board of trustees, said in a statement that university officials chose Conneely “through a collective understanding of where UMA is in its 50-year evolution as an institution of higher learning and our shared agreement that we must work even harder to assist those who have the farthest to go to reach their desired destination.”

Conneely previously served as president of Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, the only man to hold that post at the historically female school, as well as associate provost and vice president of student affairs at Eastern Kentucky University and assistant vice chancellor of student affairs at the University of Arkansas.

His career in higher education began at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. From there, he spent time at Villanova University outside Philadelphia and Emory University in Atlanta, where he worked in resident services. He moved to Fayetteville in 1993, where he served as Arkansas’ director of residence life and dining services before taking his position in the student affairs department.

UMA “is building a national reputation as a leader in helping students achieve regardless of age, background or location,” Conneely said in a statement.

The school narrowed a pool of more than 70 applicants down to three in September. Lawrence Gould, a political science professor at Fort Hays State University if Kansas, and Guiyou Huang, the senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Norwich University in Vermont, were the other two finalists.