Iowa State University President Steven Leath named Auburn’s 19th president

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Iowa State University President Steven Leath will become Auburn's 19th president.

The university's board of trustees Monday unanimously selected Leath after a six-month national search. Leath starts July 15 and replaces Jay Gogue, who announced his retirement in September.

"This is a great day for Auburn," said trustee Raymond Harbert, who chaired the 14-member presidential search committee. "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."

Since 2012, Leath has led Iowa State, one of the nation's top research institutions with an international reputation in science and technology. While president, Iowa State achieved its highest student graduation rate, lowered student debt, grew research expenditures, set fundraising records and secured the university's largest private gift for an academic facility.

Leath began his career as a plant pathologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He spent much of his career in North Carolina, serving as vice president for research at the University of North Carolina System prior to his selection at Iowa State. He received degrees in plant science and plant pathology from Pennsylvania State University, the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois.

"We found an accomplished leader through an inclusive search process with all campus constituencies represented," said Larry Teeter, professor of forest economics and immediate past chair of the university senate. Teeter served on the presidential search committee along with others representing Auburn students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Gogue has held Auburn's top position since July 2007. The two-time Auburn graduate is known for engaging with students, supporting faculty and creating a strong university partnership with the local community. After stepping down as president later this year, he will remain at Auburn teaching a higher education administration course and conducting special projects.

"The contribution Jay and Susie Gogue made to Auburn is immeasurable," said Charles McCrary, president pro tem of the Auburn Board. "We're fortunate they will remain part of the Auburn community."

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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, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation 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.