SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The University of California on Thursday named University of Texas Chancellor Mark Yudof as the next president of the 10-campus UC system, one of the world's largest public university networks.

Yudof will be the first president in two decades from outside California to lead the UC system, which has more than 220,000 students and 170,000 faculty and staff members. The system is known for the strength of its scholarship, particularly at such schools as UCLA and UC Berkeley.

"It wasn't easy to leave Texas," the 63-year-old Yudof said. "When push came to shove, I felt like this was the place to be because of the outstanding quality of each of its campuses."

A University of Pennsylvania-trained lawyer and expert in free speech, education and constitutional law, Yudof spent five years as president of the University of Minnesota before assuming the chancellorship in Texas in 2002.

He will receive $925,000 in annual compensation, making him by far California's highest-paid state employee.

Several student government representatives addressed Yudof's pay before the appointment was made final, noting that the cost of a UC education has risen steadily and is likely to increase again in the fall as the state deals with a multibillion-dollar deficit.

"We are paying for the best, and we expect him to be fighting for the money to increase competitiveness at all levels," said Matt Corrales, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.

Yudof was approved unanimously by the Board of Regents a little more than a week after a search committee recommended him to succeed Robert Dynes, who plans to leave by June.

Dynes' nearly five-year tenure was cut short by revelations that he had secretly approved bonuses and other perks for top university executives.

In Texas, Yudof earned a reputation as a gifted academic and manager who successfully lobbied for higher-education dollars. Several UC regents said they hoped his integrity would restore confidence in the system after the Dynes scandal.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.