Leath departs as Auburn President

Trustees will soon convene to name interim
Published: June 21, 2019
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Auburn President Steven Leath and members of the Board of Trustees’ presidential assessment working group mutually decided to part ways after extensive discussions about the university’s leadership.

“Dr. Leath arrived with vision and enthusiasm to take Auburn to the next level,” said Wayne T. Smith, president pro tempore of the university’s board. “We’re grateful for his dedication and commitment as Auburn made strides as a world-class public university. We wish Steve and Janet all the best.”

Under Leath’s leadership, Auburn earned the Carnegie R1 designation, placing it in the top 100 research universities in the nation. He initiated the Presidential Awards for Interdisciplinary Research and the Presidential Graduate Research Fellowships. The Auburn Research Park substantially grew with a new child care facility and plans for a new Innovation and Research Center and a health sciences facility operated by the East Alabama Medical Center.  

“As I’ve said many times, serving as Auburn’s president has been the highlight of my career,” said Leath. “I’m confident we leave Auburn stronger than when we arrived.”

Before coming to Auburn in 2017, Leath served as president of Iowa State University and vice president for research and sponsored programs for the University of North Carolina System. He held several positions at North Carolina State University and began his academic career at the University of Illinois, Urbana, as an extension plant pathologist. He holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University, the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois. He serves on the National Science Board and as secretary of the Council of Presidents for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

The Auburn Board will soon convene to name an interim president, according to Smith.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.