Former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Satya Nadella was named CEO of Microsoft Monday, succeeding Bill Ballmer as the company’s third CEO since its founding.

According to a university statement, Satya Nadella began his career with Microsoft 21 years ago and most recently had been as working as vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group before being promoted to chief executive.

Drawn to UW-Milwaukee by its successful computer science program, Nadella moved from Hyderabad, India to begin his master’s program at Milwaukee’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, the statement said.

UW-Milwaukee said in the statement it is thrilled to be associated with Nadella’s success and hopes this news will show current and future students that anything is possible with the education offered at the university.

Dr. K. Vairavan was one of Nadella’s first computer science professors at UW-Milwaukee. Vairavan said he was close with Nadella through his years at the university.

“I was filled with great excitement and joy that one of our alums could reach this level,” Vairavan said. “I have known him since he became a grad student. Knowing him this long, I am extremely happy to see him succeed at such a high level.”

Vairavan said Nadella was one of his most talented, focused students and would often bring a sleeping bag to his lab so he was able to spend the night there after long hours of work.

Nadella is also a winner of the Chancellor’s Innovation Award, the statement said.

“This reflects very well on Milwaukee as well as Wisconsin,” Vairivan said. “The state of Wisconsin will be very happy and proud to have someone like this.”