Happy Monday, Cyclone Nation! Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:
1) Shortly after we published “Five Things” last Monday, the Iowa State campus was hit with a really major thing: President Steven Leath is leaving the university this spring, bound for a new role as president of Auburn University.
Leath, who has served as ISU’s president since January 2012, has grown the university in significant ways over the past four years: Enrollment has climbed to more than 36,000; the ISU Research Park has doubled in size; and a $1.1 billion fundraising campaign was launched this fall. Leath has, however, spent the academic year facing public scrutiny over what a recent Associated Press report describes as a potential “penchant for mixing personal and professional interests,” questions about which began largely in October when the AP reported that Leath had damaged a university airplane he was piloting.
Despite the criticism he has faced, Leath says he leaves Iowa State proud of his accomplishments, filled with fond memories and goodwill:
“Janet and I have made lifelong friends here in Iowa and have had many great experiences,” Leath said in a letter to the campus community. “We will always consider ourselves Cyclones and have great affection for this university and its beautiful campus; it is a very special place. Our appreciation for the Cyclone family is beyond words, and we found this extended family of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to be the greatest joy of our time at Iowa State.”
The Iowa Board of Regents is expected to name a search committee for Leath’s permanent successor today.
2) Permanent successor is a question mark, but the interim successor may already be determined. Pending approval of the Regents today, former ISU provost and former president of the University of Northern Iowa Ben Allen will begin leading the university as interim president on May 9. Allen, a former dean of ISU’s College of Business, was a popular figure at ISU before he left to become UNI president in 2006. In his seven years at UNI, however, he was forced to make a number of tough budgetary decisions that made him less popular in Cedar Falls.
3) While there is about to be a major change at the top for ISU, athletics director Jamie Pollard is hoping there won’t be any changes coming soon at the top of ISU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. Steve Prohm and Bill Fennelly have recently agreed to contract extensions through 2022, Pollard announced Friday.
“We have two of the premiere college basketball programs in the nation, and each is led by a very successful and talented coach,” Pollard said. “Securing contract extensions with Steve and Bill solidifies the future of both programs for our institution, fans, and student-athletes.”
4) Twenty-five Iowa State undergrads will be at the State Capitol tomorrow to showcase their research during the annual “Research at the Capitol” event — 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Rotunda. The event is designed to highlight the importance of research to the undergraduate learning experience, as well as the depth and variety of research being done. See a list of the project that will be on display here.
5) We need a digital communications professional — a videographer and photographer with social media experience — to join our staff team at the ISU Alumni Association! Is it you? Is it someone you know? Check out our latest job opportunity, share the link, and apply online by April 5.