Ben Allen's 195th -- and final -- day as Iowa State interim president will come this weekend during the fall break. Shortly after, he and his wife, Pat, will quietly, and perhaps gleefully, return to St. Louis to resume their interrupted retirement.
Allen arrived on campus three weeks early last spring, to do his homework and seek out dozens of Iowa Staters for conversations and a smooth transition to May 9, his first official day.
From the beginning, he said he would do his best to make decisions on items that couldn't wait but recognize those that would be better left for the next president, Wendy Wintersteen. Allen pledged to not be a passive interim president, and he delivered. Among the many university accomplishments during his watch were:
- A fiscal year 2018 budget that absorbed another reduction in state support
- A five-year tuition proposal to maintain quality and scale key aspects -- faculty and staff numbers, student financial aid, building capacity -- to catch up with a decade of growth
- A fall student body of 36,321, including 30 in the Allens' President Leadership Class, and dozens of new faculty and staff
- A capital campaign that kept humming, including $145 million and $50 million gifts for permanent endowed funds in the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Business, respectively; and three gifts totaling $14 million toward a $21 million feed mill and grain science complex in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Efforts to nurture a welcoming campus environment in the wake of hateful or violent national events
- Big 12 Conference and NCAA Midwest regional titles for both the Cyclone men's and women's cross-country teams, an unprecedented four-win October for the football squad and Top-25 status for the volleyball team