The board that governs the state-supported universities has chosen a vice president at the University of North Carolina to be the 15th president of Iowa State University.
Steven Leath was one of two finalists along with University of Kentucky provost Kumble Subbaswamy.
Regents president Craig Lang, of West Des Moines, outlined the details of the proposed contract this afternoon after announcing Leath’s hiring. Leath will be paid an annual salary of $440,000 and he’ll start February 1st of 2012.
The new university president will also have a new trust established in his name, with up to $75,000 in deferred compensation in that account, an incentive the Regents believe will encourage the new president to stay for several years.
Lang says Leath was offered a three-year contract, along with a one-million dollar life insurance policy. Lang said the hiring process seemed to run smoothly.
“It was very transparent. There were many candidates that were visited with. We believe we did this in a time-frame that allowed us the amount of value that we needed to find out who and what kind of person we wanted to be president of Iowa State University.”
Lang introduced Leath to the campus after the Regents formal vote to approve the hiring and contract. He says Leath’s background at U.N.C. was one of the reasons they chose him. He says Leath’s experience and accomplishments in university research and economic development are extensive.
Lang says Leath built the North Carolina Agriculture Research Service into the largest plant breeding program in the country and successfully was able to “attract significant research dollars” and was able to successfully promote university research initiatives. Leath spoke after Lang’s introduction.
“I am truly honored to be selected as the next president of Iowa State University, for many years I’ve had tremendous respect for Iowa State, its faculty and the many great achievements that have come out of this fine university,” Leath said. Leath also reached out to the people on campus. He said he is excited to be their president and promised to “work tirelessly to become the citizen and servant” they all expect him to be.
“I need your help, and I look forward to participating in the robust shared governance process that is so in place at Iowa State University,” Leath said, “Once again, thank you very much, I look forward to serving and I am proud to be a Cyclone.” Leath took questions after his remarks and was asked about the biggest challenge ahead of him.
Leath says the biggest challenge is providing access and making sure students get quality education. “Balancing access, affability and quality will be a challenge that I know the faculty are concerned about and I’m concerned about and I know we’ll be working on that,” Leath said.
Leath will replace Gregory Geoffroy who is retiring.