Steven Leath

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Steven Leath
19th President of Auburn University
Assumed office
June 19, 2017
Preceded by Jay Gogue
15th President of Iowa State University
In office
January 16, 2012 – March 20, 2017
Preceded by Gregory L. Geoffroy
Succeeded by Benjamin J. Allen (acting)
Wendy Wintersteen
Vice President of Research at the
University of North Carolina system
In office
Personal details
Born (1957-07-08) July 8, 1957 (age 60)
Providence, Rhode Island
Spouse(s) Janet Leath (m. 1981)
Children Eric and Scott
Alma mater Penn State University
University of Delaware
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign[1][2]
Occupation University President

Steven Leath is the current president of Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.

Early life and education[edit]

Leath was born in Providence, Rhode Island, moving to St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of two. Leath later moved again to central Pennsylvania, where he took up a number of sports, including hunting and fishing.

He obtained his Bachelor's Degree from Penn State University in 1979, studying Plant Science. Two years later he received his M.S. in Plant Pathology from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and Phytopathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1984.


Prior to his position at Iowa State, Leath was vice president for research for the 16-campus University of North Carolina system.

A notable event that occurred during Leath's tenure at Iowa State was his decision to permanently end Veishea after 2014. This was due to continued problems with violence that occurred during the festival, especially a series of violent disturbances that led to his suspending Veishea halfway through the festival in 2014.[3]

On March 20, 2017, Leath announced his resignation from Iowa State after being named the new president at Auburn University.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Leath and his wife have two sons, Eric and Scott.

An Instrument-rated pilot, Leath damaged a Cirrus SR-22 owned by Iowa State while landing in gusty conditions in Bloomington, IL.[5]The ensuing controversy about the use of school property for personal travel, and the fact that the school paid for the damage, led to Leath publicly declaring that he would no longer fly state-owned aircraft.[6]


  1. ^ "About President Leath". Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University. 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Leading Iowa State". Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware. 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Veishea ends at Iowa State; new traditions will begin with 'thoughtful approach'". Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University. 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Steve Leath leaving ISU for Auburn presidency". Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  5. ^ Foley, Ryan (September 23, 2016). "Iowa State President Damaged School Plane". ABC News. Retrieved October 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ News Service, ISU. "Statement from President Steven Leath about his use of Iowa State University-owned aircraft". Iowa State University. Retrieved October 1, 2016.