Iowa State University President May Soon Lead Auburn University


Iowa State University president Steven Leath is reportedly on the "short list" of Auburn University's picks for its next president. The university's Board of Trustees will be voting on Monday for President Jay Gogue's successor.

Opelika-Auburn News reported that multiple sources claimed Steven Leath, Iowa State University president, is included in the list. He is believed to be an attractive pick for Auburn University because of his experience in agriculture and leadership at a land-grant institution.

There are faculty members, though, who have expressed their disappointment in the search process. This is because it only included one public event and, while it has had various meetings with constituent groups at the beginning of the process, they did not have an opportunity to be involved in the final decision.

Birmingham businessman and Auburn trustee Raymond J. Harbert is leading the 14-member committee as well as the presidential search. Harbert has worked with executive search firm R. William Funk and Associates for the process.

Back in 2007, when current university president Jay Gogue was appointed, he met with the public before he got selected. This time, however, no candidates have been announced in the duration of the search and not one was given the chance to meet the community.

According to Iowa State Daily, executive search firm R. William Funk and Associates has previously said that the candidates would not be announced if they are active presidents in other institutions. This is because the search may jeopardize the candidates' careers.

Nonetheless, Earlon McWhorter, former board of trustees member, said that the next president should have land-grant experience. This would definitely be an advantage for Leath.

Leath has served Iowa State University since 2012. He also served as vice president for research at the University of North Carolina.

Des Moines Register noted that Leath has been recently criticized after an audit by the Iowa Board of Regents found that he used a university-owned airplane for personal benefit. Apparently, he used the plane for medical appointments in Minnesota, personal flight lessons as well as for trips on his North Carolina home. He has since reimbursed the university for said flights.

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