'I hope he stays,' Governor Branstad says of ISU's president

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn University's Board of Trustees this morning (March 20) unanimously appointed Steven Leath as the university's 19th president.

Auburn University has been searching for a new President since Dr. Jay Gogue announced his intentions to retire this summer back on September 16th of a year ago.

After beginning his career as a plant pathologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Leath moved on to the University of North Carolina, where he served as vice president for research.

The report says that since 2012, Leath has led Iowa State, one of the nation's top research institutions with an global reputation in science and technology. He's faced criticism recently for flying a university plane for personal use. He has now reimbursed the university for the flights. "He cares about students, and he cares about faculty".

A 14-member committee began a national search in September after President Jay Gouge announced his intention to retire this summer.

"Steven Leath, I think, has done a great job at Iowa State University", Branstad said. However, after much thought, Janet and I made a decision to look at the opportunity at Auburn and realized the opportunity was one we could not pass up.

He wrote that after much consideration, he and first lady Janet Leath viewed the opportunity at Auburn as "one we could not pass up" and realized "our destiny is in Alabama and leading one of the nation's great land-grant universities to even greater prominence".

"I work hard", Leath said.

"I understand that is very sad and disappointing for most of us to see a 92-year-old tradition come to an end", Leath said during the press conference. "I hope to turn it over to my successor better than I found it, as Dr. Gouge has done". "We're a unique university, and he would need to know who we are".

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

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