Benjamin Allen sends farewell email to students, faculty and staff


Ashley Siegner/Iowa State Daily

Interim President Ben Allen speaks at the president’s annual address in the Great Hall in the Memorial Union on Sept. 14. “These students will make a difference in the world and the faculty and the staff are preparing them to make that difference,” Allen said of the Iowa State student body. 

Danielle Gehr

With a subject titled “Thank you and Goodbye,” Iowa State’s interim president announced his departure through email to the Iowa State community. 

Wendy Wintersteen will take over as Iowa State president Monday, letting Benjamin Allen, who has filled the role since May 9, head back to retirement.

“We have very much enjoyed the past seven months at Iowa State University and the opportunity to meet and engage with students, faculty, staff, and supporters. It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Iowa State as interim president during this important time in the university’s history,” Allen wrote in his email to students, faculty and staff.  

Wintersteen, who started her career at Iowa State 38 years ago and served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was appointed Iowa State’s next president in October. 

“Now it my privilege to officially transition leadership to President Wendy Wintersteen. President Wintersteen is a superb choice for this role. She is an outstanding leader with a proven record of success in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She has a deep and sincere passion for Iowa State, and I am confident she will be an extraordinary president,” Allen wrote.

During his time as interim president, Allen had to make difficult decisions within the first few months. Amidst state budget cuts to higher education, Allen decided to cut across-the-board raises to faculty and staff as well as propose 7 percent increases for in-state students and 4 percent tuition increases over the next five years to the Board of Regents. 

“The interim is not a passive type of position. You have to keep making decisions. It didn’t take too long to realize you have no option. You have to keep making decisions,” Allen said. 

Allen has filled many positions at Iowa State, including other interim roles. He has joked several times that he can’t keep a job.

Allen began at Iowa State in 1979 and moved up to department chair to distinguished faculty to dean of the College of Business before moving on to become president of the University of Northern Iowa in 2009. 

Allen said, in past interviews, he and his wife, Pat, are grateful to be given the opportunity to come back to a place they spent several decades and reconnect with old friends. Now, they will head back to St. Louis where they will spend time with their daughter and grandchildren. 

“Thank you for your involvement, support, and patience during my time as interim president,” Allen wrote. “You all have made it a joy to return to Ames and Iowa State. Pat and I are excited to get back home to St. Louis, but Iowa State University will always hold a special place in our hearts. We wish all of you the very best! Go Cyclones!”