Wendy Wintersteen speaks during her installation ceremony.

A ceremony in Ames today formally installed the first woman to hold the top leadership position at Iowa State University.

Wendy Wintersteen was already the dean of the I.S.U. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences when she was tabbed by the Board of Regents to be the next president almost one year ago. “I am very honored and humbled to stand before you today at the 16th president of Iowa State University. As a proud graduate of this extraordinary institution,” Wintersteen says.

Wintersteen completed her doctorate at Iowa State and served in several positions as she moved up the ranks in 40 years at the school. “Seeing all of you reminds me of how blessed I am to be raised in the midwest by supportive parents who knew the profound impact of hard work. And encouraged me to follow my dreams,” Wintersteen says.

Wintersteen says she wants to build on the history of the school’s ability to develop new ideas and inventions. “As president I intend to establish a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem where innovating is built into the curriculum. And where innovations and entrepreneurial ideas come from our students faculty and staff,” Wintersteen says, “and that they receive support to move those ideas forward.”

She also talked about the faculty. “As IS-U reaches for greater heights, I will reward an recognize the excellence of our teachers and the success that they achieve in the classroom,” according to Wintersteen. “Across the arts and humanities, science and engineering and in every corner of this university.”

And she  talked about the importance of helping students succeed. “I.S.U. is known for its very high student retention rate — but we must develop and implement new approaches to improve our graduation rates,” according to Wintersteen. “In the coming years I hope to work with the I.S.U. Foundation to raise funds to offer completion grants to those students who need a final to finish their degree.”

Wintersteen replaces Stephen Leath who left I.S.U. to become the president at Auburn University.