Penn provost Vincent Price, who chaired the search committee, on Monday called Calhoun "a national leader in intercollegiate athletics."
Calhoun won the 2009 Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators.
Officials said she also has been actively involved in the governance of the NCAA as chair of the research committee and vice chair of the Olympic Sports liaison committee.
Calhoun, also a Loyola assistant vice president, was a student-athlete at Brown University and was athletics administrator at Dartmouth College.
President Amy Gutmann said Calhoun's experience as an Ivy League student and athlete would give her "a valuable leg up" in understanding Penn's culture.