Credit Line: Commissioned by the University Museums with funding from the ISU Foundation. In the Presidential Portrait Collection, Art on Campus, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Dr. Steven Leath was the 15th president of Iowa State University, serving from February 1, 2012-May 8, 2017. During his five-year tenure, the university experienced record growth in a number of areas, including student enrollment and diversity, first-year retention and graduation rates, research expenditures, and tenured faculty. Leath also launched the university’s most ambitious comprehensive capital campaign, Forever True, For Iowa State, with a goal of raising $1.1 billion by July 2020. All told in his five years at Iowa State, Leath raised more than $720 million for the university, including more than $200 million for student scholarships.
Leath’s emphasis on economic development was the impetus for the expansion and transformation of the ISU Research Park, including the opening of the Economic Development Core Facility and the first commercial amenities at the Park. Leath also co-founded the Cultivation Corridor, an economic development initiative leveraging Iowa State’s expertise and innovation to establish Central Iowa as a global center for excellence in agbiosciences, biotech, biorenewables, and advanced manufacturing.
His tenure saw the development and addition of several new buildings and renovations. These included Troxel Hall, the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, Elings Hall, Sukup Hall, Geoffroy Residence Hall, the expansion of Jack Trice Stadium, Campustown revitalization, Reiman Gardens expansion, several campus beautification projects, and renovations to Curtiss Hall, MacKay Hall, Lagomarcino Hall, and Marston Hall. He also initiated construction on the Advanced Teaching and Research Facility, Bessey Hall addition, and the Student Innovation Center.
In March 2017, Leath was announced as the 19th president of Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.