I write today to inform the Iowa State Community that I have resigned my position as President of Iowa State University in order to pursue an outstanding opportunity at Auburn University. 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.” However, after much thought, Janet and I decided to look at the opportunity at Auburn and realized the opportunity was one we could not pass up. When we arrived in Ames, we had no idea how much we would fall in love with Iowa and the Cyclone family. In fact, it was not long ago we bought a farm here and expected to retire here. However, we now realize our destiny is in Alabama and leading one of the nation’s great Land-grant universities to even greater prominence.
I leave with a promise fulfilled, and that was to leave the university better than I inherited it. I leave with Iowa State achieving record enrollment, retention rates, graduation rates, job placement rates as well as records in fundraising and research funding, and numerous other metrics. I am proud of the many accomplishments that we achieved in economic development and community engagement.
I have volunteered to work closely with the Regents to identify an interim President and start a search for a permanent President. In addition, I will keep you updated during this time of change.
Janet and I have made lifelong friends here in Iowa and have had many great experiences. We will always consider ourselves Cyclones and have great affection for this university and its beautiful campus; it is a very special place. Our appreciation for the Cyclone family is beyond words, and we found this extended family of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to be the greatest joy of our time at Iowa State.
Steven and Janet A. Leath
President and First Lady