A dual code international who played for Leigh and Leeds as well as England and Great Britain, Risman will represent the RFL in an ambassadorial capacity over the next 12 months.
He is the first person to hold the honorary position from outside the Rugby League Council and was elected by a unanimous vote of representatives from all parts of the sport earlier this week.
“This is the greatest honour I have ever had,” said Risman, a Rugby Union Lions tourist in 1959 who captained Great Britain in the 1968 Rugby League World Cup.
“It was an emotional moment when I was elected President of the RFL and I feel proud and privileged to be given this opportunity.
“It’s going to be an exciting year in my life and I’m looking forward to carrying out all my duties as RFL President, starting with the Northern Rail Cup and Northern Rail 9s at Blackpool next week.”
Risman was an inspirational figure behind the sport’s early successes in London and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Student Rugby League for almost three decades.
He helped found the hugely successful Summer Conference and has retained strong links with Cumbria, where he still lives with his wife, Ann.
RFL Chairman Richard Lewis described Bev Risman’s election as RFL President as “an historic day” for Rugby League and said he was looking forward to working with him.
“Having known Bev personally for many years I can think of no person more suited to this role and the sport will gain much from having him as RFL President,” said Lewis.
“For many years Bev has helped develop the sport he loves, rarely in the spotlight but often at grass roots community level. This is so typical of the man – not only was he a great player but he is also a great person.”
As well as working to raise the profile of charities the Rugby League Benevolent Fund and the Rugby League Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bev Risman hopes to create a new association for former players during his 12-month term as President.
“I am exploring the possibility of forming a National Players’ Association that will bring the many players who have played this great game together on a social basis,” said Risman.
“I will be contacting the various ex-players’ associations at club level with a view to forging stronger links with a group of people who are very important members of the Rugby League family.”
John Whaling, the long serving Board member of Sheffield Eagles was elected Vice-President for 2010-2011.
Also at the AGM at Halifax on Wednesday, former RFL Chief Executive David Oxley was elected Life Vice President of the RFL.