Editorial: Leath installation signals change for Iowa State

Editorial Board

Last week, after a stint of pleasant weather, much to our chagrin Ames saw temperatures climb into the 90s again. Though in typical Iowa fashion, the following days found temps getting only into the 60s and 70s, with lows in the 40s overnight. Today, for instance, temperatures are projected to be in the mid-60s, whereas yesterday, they reached into the 80s.

And as is also good ol’ Iowan fashion, many of Iowa State’s students have been heard complaining about the weather being too hot one day, then too cold the next.

One student was overheard voicing her pleasure over the declining temps because she wanted to wear her Uggs again. Meanwhile, another student was heard complaining about girls wearing their Uggs already. Regardless of what’s on your feet, the general consensus around campus is that the sudden turn in the weather is shocking or even abhorrent.

One wonders if calendars have fallen out of favor or something. It is September after all. The seasons change every year at this time.

But life in general is about change, and in at least one important way, the climate’s changes over the past few weeks have been a weather vane of important change for Iowa State: Last Friday, Sept. 14, Steven Leath formally began his presidency.

Leath has been with Iowa State for several months now, but as of his official installation as president, it appears not only is the fall season here, but a new season of change is upon this university as well. His speech was neither long nor boring but contained a massive amount of vision.

He addressed the state of Iowa’s role in supporting land-grant universities, access to and affordability of higher education and outlined partnerships with business and industry in Iowa that would not allow Iowa State to become an “ivory tower.” He reiterated the need for strong activity in research and scholarship yet reiterated that arts, humanities and social science programs are part of a total educational experience.

As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes — or if you like, The Byrds’ 1965 hit song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” — “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted. … A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.”

It is now the season of Leath, and over the course of the coming days, we’ll try to figure out what purposes, both old and new, Iowa State is about to embark upon. Stay tuned.