Wintersteen installed as Iowa State’s 16th president

Wendy Wintersteen is officially installed as the first woman president of Iowa State University by president emeritus Gregory L. Geoffroy (left) and the president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa Michael Richards (right) at Stephens Auditorium on Friday. “I believe in the future of Iowa State University, in the potential of our students, the excellence of our researchers, the transformative power of our educators and the strategic commitment and dedication of our staff… thank you for supporting Iowa State University and allowing me to serve,” Wintersteen said.

Talon Delaney Delaney

President Wendy Wintersteen traded her signature red jacket for a cardinal red and gold robe during her installation ceremony Friday morning.

Nearly 2,000 students, faculty and alumni filled Stephens Auditorium to witness Wintersteen’s installation as Iowa State’s 16th president.

During her installation speech, Wintersteen made clear her goals to continue Iowa State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as expand the school’s entrepreneurial roots.

“I want the spirit of entrepreneurship to be part of the Iowa State brand, and something that moves us forward,” Wintersteen said. “Iowa State must be different, must stand out from the pack and must be better than the rest.”

She referenced Iowa State’s many achievements, such as the agricultural innovations ushered in by George Washington Carver and the invention of the computer in the 1930s and 40s.

“We never patented the computer,” Wintersteen said, and then added with a chuckle, “Imagine the possibilities.”

Wintersteen also alluded to the mission of Iowa State as a land-grant university, and the inherent responsibilities it has to its community.

“Being welcoming and inclusive is built into the DNA of this university from it’s very beginning moments,” Wintersteen said. “Together, we’re creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where anyone who is willing to work hard will achieve.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds, Mayor John Halia and Student Body President Julian Neely all attended the ceremony. Reynolds and Neely both participated in the greeting ceremonies.

“I’m glad you have a focus on creating an inclusive and more engaged campus, and I look forward to playing a role,” Neely said.

He then led the auditorium in an applause on behalf of the student body.

Reynolds took the stage to voice her support of Wintersteen’s presidential vision.

“Together we’re working to improve Iowa’s innovation ecosystem to transform Iowa’s economy for the better,” Reynolds said. “As president, you clearly understand Iowa State’s role in innovation and creativity. Moving forward, I have no doubt your influence will continue to serve as a catalyst for human achievement.”

The audience erupted in a minute-long standing ovation as Wintersteen donned the ceremonial Chain of Office.

Gregory Geoffroy gave Wintersteen’s introduction. He appointed Wintersteen to Senior Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2006, when he presided as Iowa State’s 14th president.

“I first met Wendy 17 years ago on campus,” Geoffroy said. “The more I interacted with her, the more I learned she had a number of great leadership qualities. I was delighted to appoint her to her first senior position, and I was even more delighted when I heard she was appointed president.”

Geoffroy also said Wintersteen “is exactly the right person to be at Iowa State’s helm at this point in history,” and Iowa State will remain “an excellent steward to the community under her leadership.”

Also in attendance were the many student and faculty delegates, together representing every college the university hosts, as well as Iowa State’s many sororities and fraternities, the Alumni Association and student and faculty senates.

Norin Chaudhry, graduate student in biochemistry and president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, spoke on behalf of graduate students. 

“Center to the graduate university is its diversity and cultures that make its academics rich,” Chaudhry said. “We are from Iowa, America and all other parts of the world. We vow to be a forefront of progress for our community and the world.”

Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Martino Harmon gave speech before the greeting ceremony, and led the auditorium in a moment of silence to honor the passing of Celia Barquin Arozamena.

“She was a champion and a brilliant ambassador to our community,” Harmon said. “Our hearts go out to her friends and family, and as Cyclones we grieve this loss.”