Iowa State University student appointed to state Board of Regents

The new student regent replaces University of Northern Iowa alum Rachael Johnson, who served as a regent for about four years.


Lily Smith

Regents listen to a presentation during a state Board of Regents meeting in the IMU main lounge on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

Brooklyn Draisey, Summer Editor

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday appointed Iowa State University student Zack Leist to the state Board of Regents, bringing the governing board of Iowa’s three public universities back to its normal nine-member total.

Leist succeeds University of Northern Iowa alum Rachael Johnson, a May 2018 graduate who resigned in April — two years before the end of her six-year term. During her term, the regents hired presidents for each of the three regent universities, starting with UI President Bruce Harreld in 2015.

A Clarion, Iowa native, Leist will serve until April 30, 2021.

Leist will start his junior year at ISU this fall, according to a news release. He is triple majoring in agricultural business, economics, and international agriculture and minoring in agronomy.

“It’s an honor to serve the Iowa Board of Regents and share my experiences in Agricultural Business, International Agriculture, Economics, and Agronomy subjects,” Leist said in the release. “I sincerely appreciate Governor Reynolds for selecting me to this position so I can bring perspective from rural Iowa.”

He is an executive officer in Alpha Gamma Rho, where he oversees finance. He is also involved in Collegiate Cattlemen’s Club, ISU Agricultural Business Club, and ISU Iowa Corn Growers Club. Leist has interned at DuPont Pioneer Meyer Ag Services and has worked as a agriculture-production assistant at Sebert and Leist Family Farms.

According to Iowa law, one regent must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at one of the public universities at the time of his or her appointment.

Regents are appointed by the governor and confirmed by a two-thirds vote from the Iowa Senate.

Members of the nine-member governing board also are required by state law to maintain a political and gender balance.

Leist’s appointment brings the governing board’s gender balance to five men and four women.

To comply with the political-balance requirement, he has to be an independent or a Democrat. Out of the other eight regents, there are currently five registered as Republicans and one as a Democrat.

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