Thomas M. Davis III in 2009. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Former congressman Thomas M. Davis III will become the next leader of the governing board of George Mason University, officials announced Thursday.

Davis, a Republican who represented Northern Virginia in the House from January 1995 to November 2008, was elected rector of the university’s Board of Visitors in a vote of the board. Mason, with nearly 34,000 students last fall at the main campus in Fairfax County and at satellite campuses, is Virginia’s largest public university.

Then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) named Davis to the 16-member board in 2013. Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

“Congressman Davis is a proven leader who understands our mission and supports the ambitious vision we have set,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said in a statement. “I’m delighted with the board’s decision and look forward to a productive working relationship with him and the other board members.”