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Iowa State President Leaving, Explains Decision in Letter

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AMES, Iowa  --  Iowa State President Steven Leath announced Monday that he is leaving to take over as president at Auburn University.

On Saturday, an Alabama newspaper first reported Leath as the only publicly-named candidate for the position.

Auburn's Board of Trustees approved Leath for the job in a vote Monday morning.

Leath has served in Ames since January 2012. He released a letter to the Iowa State community Monday afternoon, reading, in part, "Janet and I decided to look at the opportunity at Auburn and realized the opportunity was one we could not pass up."

Read the full letter here.

Leath is credited with growing enrollment and fundraising during his time at Iowa State. His tenure became troubled at times when reports surfaced that he had two minor accidents with the private plane the university provided and that he used the plane for private business. Leath later reimbursed the university.

Governor Terry Branstad praised Leath's time at Iowa State earlier in the day, before Leath's departure became public. Branstad said, "Steven Leath has done a great job at Iowa State University. Under his leadership, Iowa State has grown, especially in fields like agriculture and engineering."

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter also praised Leath in a statement:

"I would like to thank President Leath for his service to Iowa State University, the Board of Regents and the state of Iowa. ISU has made great strides during his tenure, including achieving record enrollment. We wish President Leath and his wife, Janet, the best at Auburn University."