Loh, the provost of the University of Iowa, will succeed C.D. "Dan" Mote Jr., who's served as president for 12 years. He starts Nov. 1; until then, provost Nariman Farvardin will serve as interim president.
Loh, 65, has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and will become the first Asian to serve as University of Maryland president. He was born in Shanghai, China, and immigrated with his family to Lima, Peru, where he graduated from high school. He then moved alone to Iowa, graduating from Grinnell College with a degree in psychology. He later earned degrees from Yale University, the University of Michigan and Cornell University.
Loh said in statement that he hoped to build on Mote's success.
"I am deeply honored to be entrusted with the stewardship of the flagship institution at College Park," he said. "Its rapid ascension to national eminence is truly remarkable, a testament to the accomplishments and dedication of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters of the university."
Loh has served as provost at Iowa since 2008, overseeing personnel and budgets. He has also worked as a dean and professor at Seattle University, the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Washington Law School. From 1997-1999, he was director of policy for Washington Gov. Gary Locke, the nation's first Chinese-American governor, who is now Secretary of Commerce.
Loh "has proven himself to be one of the nation's top academic leaders, and certainly is well-prepared to assume the presidency of a major university," University of Iowa president Sally Mason said.
The University of Maryland enrolls more than 37,000 graduate and undergraduate students and has an operating budget of nearly $1.6 billion.