Christ was voted in Thursday after being nominated for the position earlier in the week.
In a statement, UC President Janet Napolitano said she was "delighted that Carol Christ has agreed to lead Berkeley at this pivotal time in the campus's storied history."
Christ has worked for the university for more than three decades in a variety of positions ranging from professor and chair of the English department to dean. She served as the president of Smith College from 2002 to 2013 before returning to Berkeley, where she was provost and interim executive vice chancellor.
Christ first came to UC Berkeley in 1970 as an assistant professor when only 3 percent of the faculty were women.
"I'd never been in a place so deeply committed to widening the doors to educational opportunities," said Christ.
Yet she is quick to point out that the University still faces some tough challenges ahead.
"Among her biggest challenges is ensuring that UC Berkeley remains the top public institution in the country while dealing with a decline in funding from the state," said Christ.
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Christ believes it's time to re-imagine the school's financial model which relies on two block grants, tuition dollars and what they get from the state.
"We certainly would be increasing the importance of philanthropy revenue stream that we have," said Christ.
All this comes as the Regents are expected to approve a cap on the number of higher-paying out-of-state students, allowing for more California students to enroll.
The cap would be 20 percent at most UC's, and 24 percent at Cal, UCLA and UC San Diego.
In exchange, the UC system will receive $18.5 million from the state.
Cal is celebrating its 150th anniversary next year.