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Leath to leave Iowa State for position at Auburn University

FILE+-+In+this+Sept.+14%2C+2012%2C+file+photo%2C+Iowa+State+President+Steven+Leath+speaks+during+his+installation+ceremony+in+Ames%2C+Iowa.+Documents+obtained+by+The+Associated+Press+under+the+open+records+law%2C+shows+Leath+damaged+a+private+plane+in+a+hard+landing+in+2014%2C+11+months+before+he+banged+up+a+university+aircraft+in+similar+fashion.+The+Board+of+Regents+has+received+the+results+of+an+audit+into+every+flight+Leath+and+others+have+taken+on+university+planes+during+his+presidency%2C+and+scheduled+a+special+meeting+to+discuss+Leath%27s+performance.+%28Bryon+Houlgrave%2FThe+Des+Moines+Register+via+AP%2C+File%29
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Leath to leave Iowa State for position at Auburn University

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2012, file photo, Iowa State President Steven Leath speaks during his installation ceremony in Ames, Iowa. Documents obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law, shows Leath damaged a private plane in a hard landing in 2014, 11 months before he banged up a university aircraft in similar fashion. The Board of Regents has received the results of an audit into every flight Leath and others have taken on university planes during his presidency, and scheduled a special meeting to discuss Leath's performance. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2012, file photo, Iowa State President Steven Leath speaks during his installation ceremony in Ames, Iowa. Documents obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law, shows Leath damaged a private plane in a hard landing in 2014, 11 months before he banged up a university aircraft in similar fashion. The Board of Regents has received the results of an audit into every flight Leath and others have taken on university planes during his presidency, and scheduled a special meeting to discuss Leath's performance. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

AP

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2012, file photo, Iowa State President Steven Leath speaks during his installation ceremony in Ames, Iowa. Documents obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law, shows Leath damaged a private plane in a hard landing in 2014, 11 months before he banged up a university aircraft in similar fashion. The Board of Regents has received the results of an audit into every flight Leath and others have taken on university planes during his presidency, and scheduled a special meeting to discuss Leath's performance. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

AP

AP

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2012, file photo, Iowa State President Steven Leath speaks during his installation ceremony in Ames, Iowa. Documents obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law, shows Leath damaged a private plane in a hard landing in 2014, 11 months before he banged up a university aircraft in similar fashion. The Board of Regents has received the results of an audit into every flight Leath and others have taken on university planes during his presidency, and scheduled a special meeting to discuss Leath's performance. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

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For a third time in less than two years, one of the three public Board of Regents institutions will be searching for a new leader.

The Auburn University Board of Trustees announced today Iowa State University President Steven Leath was selected to serve as AU’s 19th president.

“When first called about this opportunity, I responded truthfully, as I always had done since my arrival in Iowa, by saying, ‘I love Iowa State, and the Iowa State students, faculty, staff, and Cyclone family are wonderful; I am not looking to leave,’ ” Leath told ISU students in an emailed statement. “However, after much thought, [my wife] Janet, and I decided to look at the opportunity at Auburn and realized the opportunity was one we could not pass up.”

Leath said his departure is with a “promise fulfilled,” citing “record enrollment, retention rates, graduation rates, job placement rates as well as records in fundraising and research funding, and numerous other metrics,” as his major accomplishments since he began as ISU president in January 2012.

Regent President Bruce Rastetter, who announced he would not be seeking reappointment to the regents Feb. 11, thanked Leath in an emailed statement from the regents for the “great strides” made “during his tenure, including achieving record enrollment.”

“We wish President Leath and his wife, Janet, the best at Auburn University,” Rastetter said.

Since it was revealed in September 2016 Leath damaged a university aircraft for personal and business use, the last several months have been shrouded in controversy for Leath. He has since reimbursed ISU for the costs of the damage.

The departure comes after the selection of a new University of Northern Iowa President, Mark Nook, in December 2016. The University of Iowa also conducted its own search in 2015 that led to the hiring of current UI President Bruce Harreld.

Leath said he volunteered to work closely with the regents to find his successor. The regents will be discussing the change in leadership during a “special meeting soon,” Rastetter said in the statement.

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Marissa Payne, Managing Editor


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Marissa Payne is the Managing Editor of The Daily Iowan. She started working at the DI her...

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