Boston University took the historic step of naming Dr. Melissa L. Gilliam as its next president on Wednesday, the first woman and first Black woman to lead the university since it was founded. Gilliam comes to Boston from The Ohio State University, and has a mile-long list of accomplishments in research and academic leadership. She said her style is one of “listening, collaborating and empowering other people.”

Here's five things you need to know about her.

She’s a physician by training

Gilliam, 58, is a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics. She received her medical degree from Harvard, but also studied English literature at Yale and received a master’s degree in philosophy and politics from Oxford.

She researched family planning and contraception

Gilliam researched teenage pregnancy and why many teens become pregnant again within a year of delivery at the University of Chicago. She became chief of family planning and contraceptive research, and remained at the university for 16 years.

She’s used to being the first

At Ohio State, she was the first Black provost at the university, focusing her work on issues of college access and affordability, as well as ways to reduce student debt.

She grew up in the D.C. area

Her mother was the first Black female reporter at the Washington Post and reported on integration at the University of Mississippi in 1962. Her father was an abstract painter.

She has two children

Gilliam shares the kids with husband William Grobman, a physician-researcher. Their son is studying at Harvard Medical School. And their daughter attends Yale University.

Gilliam will officially begin the role on July 1, 2024.