White has served as chancellor at the University of California Riverside since 2008.
Under his leadership, UCR established two new schools, in public policy and medicine.
It's also the most diverse university in the system.
White says he's enthusiastic about now leading the nation's largest system of four-year schools….despite the ongoing state budget problems that have plagued higher education.
WHITE: "We have our work cut out, but I'm enormously optimistic, maybe I'm a pathological optimist I don't know, but I'm enormously optimistic about the system's future and the state's future we just have to find our way here in a difficult economy."
White will receive an annual salary of $421,500.
He's expected to start the job at the end of December, replacing Charles Reed, who is retiring after 14 years.