Auburn University has been searching for a new President since Dr. Jay Gogue announced his intentions to retire this summer back on September 16th of last year. Now, it appears, the Board of Trustees has made a decision. The candidate offered the position is Dr. Steven Leath, the President of Iowa State University.
Dr. Leath has been the President at Iowa State since 2012 according to his bio. 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 holds a B.S. in plant science from Pennsylvania State University, M.S. in plant science from the University of Delaware, and Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Illinois.
Iowa State has a lot in common with Auburn as a land grant school that focuses on Agriculture and Research. I'm sure this played a large part in Auburn's decision. Some may wonder why the President of an AAU (Association of American Universities) school may leave that post for a non-AAU post, but I would like to think that shows just how attractive Auburn University is as a research and academic institution.
Dr. Leath doesn't come without some controversy. There were some issues with his use of University planes while at ISU, but an auditor ultimately found that the use fell in the "shades of gray" category.
It's hard to say what Dr. Leath's appointment may mean for Athletics. I know that's what's on the mind of plenty of readers of this site. Though I'd also like to think our crowd here also finds the academic side of the University to be even more important - as much as we love the sports. We'll have to take a "wait and see" approach on whether he will remain hands-off as Dr. Gogue did or if he will be more involved.
Regardless, the Board has made its choice, and the new President has been approved. Welcome to Auburn, Dr. Leath. We think you'll love our Little Village.