President Steven Leath's departure will leave Iowa State University seeking a new leader as it faces budget cuts, enrollment growth and fallout from controversies.
An Auburn University news release says the university's board of trustees Monday unanimously selected Leath after a six-month national search. "Dr. Leath is a strategic leader who will work alongside the campus community and alumni to elevate Auburn to the next level in instruction, research and outreach".
As he told the Business Record in an interview past year, Leath told the recruiters that he had bought a retirement home in north-central Iowa, loved his role at Iowa State University and had no plans to leave.
When inaugurated, Leath said he believed in the future of public universities, the branding of Iowa State and the value of a Cyclone education.
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"Steven Leath, I think, has done a great job at Iowa State University", Branstad said. He has served in numerous key research roles in his administrative and teaching career at North Carolina State and also as the Vice President for Research at The University of North Carolina for five years before taking the position at Iowa State. He received degrees in plant science and plant pathology from Penn State University, the University of DE and the University of IL.
After a hard landing in 2014 that damaged Iowa State's single-engine Cirrus, Leath came under harsh criticism for his mixed personal, business use with the airplanes and lack of transparency with the process.
However, Auburn's board seemed willing to trust Leath and lean on his administrative success in hopes that his trend toward positive university accomplishments will continue at Auburn. Teeter is a professor of forest economics and immediate past chair of the university senate. "He cares about students, and he cares about faculty". He served on the presidential search committee along with others representing Auburn students, faculty, staff and alumni.
"The contribution Jay and Susie Gogue made to Auburn is immeasurable", said Charles McCrary, president pro tem of the Auburn Board. However, after much thought, Janet and I chose to look at the opportunity at Auburn and realized the opportunity was one we could not pass up.