Four presidential finalists invited to campus

Four people will have an opportunity to interview on Iowa State's campus to be the university's top leader.

After two days of interviews and meetings at a hotel in the Minneapolis area, the search committee charged with assessing Iowa State presidential hopefuls selected four finalists Wednesday, Sept. 27.

The candidates will be invited to visit Iowa State for further interviews and meetings, including an open forum. Those visits will be held Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 9-10.

The finalists' identities will be revealed one at a time 24 hours before each arrives. Details on when and where the forums will be held are being finalized and will be released later this week or early next week. An online form for feedback will be available on the university's presidential search website.

Finalists' names will remain confidential if they opt to withdraw from the search and decline to interview on campus.

Committee co-chair Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, praised the quality of the four finalists.

"I thought we got to a good place," he said.

The process

The 21-member search committee spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning privately interviewing seven semifinalists they selected earlier this month from a pool of 64 candidates. An eighth semifinalist withdrew before interviewing.

A list of 12 questions was prepared, each to be asked by the same committee member in every interview. After the 75-minute interviews, candidates met briefly in private with Houston and his co-chair -- College of Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez -- to confirm continued interest, ask personal questions or discuss scheduling.  

At the start of the two-day process, Rico-Gutierrez told the committee the semifinalists had "all the right ingredients," making the interviews a crucial element of their deliberations.

"This is going to be a really important two days," he said. "Literally, you'll be making history."

In a special meeting set for Oct. 23 in Ames, the state Board of Regents will discuss the search with the committee in a closed session, interview finalists and select Iowa State's 16th president. 

Former President Steven Leath left Iowa State to be president of Auburn University last spring. Interim President Ben Allen will lead the university until the new president is on the job in early 2018.

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