Several studies have focused on the increasing gender diversity in the boardrooms of corporations; both on what causes the increase and how this affects performance. Institutions of higher education also have governing boards but their incentive structures are quite different than those of corporations, thus providing a unique opportunity to study the increase in gender diversity on those governing boards. In this paper, I look specifically at public institutions of higher education and how the gender and political characteristics of those appointing and confirming trustees to the boards affect their decision to appoint a female versus a male trustee. The results suggest that those boards in states with larger shares of female legislators have higher probabilities of appointing and confirming female trustees to a board. Additionally, if the governor is a Democrat, he or she is 6‐7% more likely to appoint a female trustee.