Iowa State University aims for new president by October

Principal Financial CEO to help lead search committee for Leath's replacement

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Board of Regents hopes to select a new Iowa State University president by early October, according to a newly released timeline.

Regents Executive Director Robert Donley updated the board during its meeting Thursday in Council Bluffs on nominees for a 21-member search and screen committee and anticipated deadlines in the process to replace ISU President Steven Leath, who is set to resign May 8.

Leath — hired at Iowa State in 2012 — recently announced plans to assume the presidency at Auburn University in Alabama. His time at Iowa State has been punctuated by an array of highs and lows, including soaring student enrollment and growth in national prestige, but also an ISU Flight Services scandal that had him apologizing for misusing university aircraft and vowing to quit piloting the institution’s planes.

Nominees for the search committee to replace Leath include former Hy-Vee CEO and President Ric Jurgens, an ISU alumnus, and Daniel Houston, CEO and President of the Principal Financial Group, who is to serve as co-chairman of the committee along with Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the ISU College of Design.

According to the timeline Donley presented Thursday, the ISU presidential search committee will begin meeting in late May or early June and post an advertisement online and in print by July.

The deadline for applications will come in mid- to late-August, at which time the committee also plans to identify semifinalists. A search firm will conduct reference checks in early September, and the committee will interview the semifinalists later that month.

Finalists are to visit campus and elicit public feedback in late September, and the board plans to hold a special meeting in Ames to interview finalists and make a selection in early October.

The board expects to select a search firm for the process by May 1. Firm proposals were due Monday.

Nominees for the ISU search and screen committee are:

— Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the ISU College of Design.


— Daniel Houston, CEO and president of the Principal Financial Group and a member of the public.

— Tim Day, faculty senate president.

— Jessica Bell, professional and scientific staff council president.

— Cody West, student government president.

— Vivek J. Lawana, graduate student president.

— Steven Freeman, agricultural & biosystem engineering professor.

— Brent Shanks, engineering professor.

— Ann Marie Fiore, professor in the Department of Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management.

— Monic P. Behnken, associate sociology professor.

— Jessica Ward, assistant professor in Veterinary Clinical Sciences.

— Charles (Brad) Shrader, Morril professor in management.

— Thea Oberlander, retired alumnus out of Iowa State’s College of Business, representing the ISU Alumni Association.

— Steve Zumbach, an attorney with the alumni association.

— Ric Jurgens, retired chairman, CEO and President of Hy-Vee, representing the ISU Foundation.

— Gary Streit, an attorney with the foundation.

— Tom Hill, retired senior policy adviser and member of the public.

The regent members are Patty Cownie, Sherry Bates, Milt Dakovich and Nancy Boettger.

Non-voting members are Donley and Mark Braun, chief operating officer for the board.

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