Wintersteen is ready to get started after being selected as Iowa State’s next president

Wendy Wintersteen was named the next President of Iowa State University on Monday. She was unanimously chosen by the board of regents. Wintersteen is the first female to hold the position of President at Iowa State.

Danielle Gehr

Wendy Wintersteen said she can’t wait to get to work.

Wintersteen, who started her career at Iowa State 38 years ago and is the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was selected by the Board of Regents as Iowa State’s next president.

The Regent’s decision, which came Monday, was unanimous. 

Wintersteen was welcomed into the Campanile Room with applause and a standing ovation. Her first address as Iowa State’s president was attended by group of about 100.

“I am so honored and humbled to be named the next president of Iowa State University,” Wintersteen said. “To look out into the audience today and see so many of my friends and colleagues from across the university… thank you all for being here to welcome me today.”

Wintersteen said she looks forward to working with all of the Iowa State community to create an open, inclusive and welcoming environment “where every student who works hard can achieve their full potential.”

Wintersteen has served as the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Science since 2006, where she oversees 317 faculty members, 484 staff members and 5,509 students. She works with a current budget of $172 million with $51.5 million in sponsored research.

At her open forum, Wintersteen listed her accomplishments at Iowa State, including raising $250 million with her colleagues, creating approximately 400 jobs with an agricultural entrepreneurship initiative and doubling the number of Iowa State faculty in the National Academy.

Following Wintersteen being announced as a finalist, people expressed concern over her past involvement with agriculture companies, which people felt were not sustainable. Some people also felt she should have done more when state funding was cut from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. 

Art Cullen wrote a letter into the Daily expressing these concerns. Angie Carter, a fourth generation Cyclone, wrote a letter over her issues with the now Iowa State president.

During a press conference after her speech, Wintersteen said her biggest challenge will be addressing budget restraints. 

“We have to be able to look at our budget, manage that budget in a very appropriate manner. One of my platforms in my application was really how we can go about creating better efficiencies at the universities,” Wintersteen said. 

She said she wants Iowans to know Iowa State will never waste a dollar of their money.

During her five minute speech, Wintersteen also touched on the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign.

“The donations to this campaign will make a tremendous difference in scholarships for our students and special experiences that they will be able to participate in. It will help us build first-class research and educational facilities,” Wintersteen said.

Wintersteen said she looks forward to getting to know every corner of Iowa State University and said her goal is to make it the best land-grant institutions in the nation, which was met with applause.

“Dr. Wendy Wintersteen is an outstanding selection as our 16th president,” Roger Underwood, a member of the ISU Foundation board, said. “She is a listener and she’s respectful of everyone’s opinion. Will everyone get their way? No. But everyone will get a voice.”

She also said she wants to work with Gov. Kim Reynolds and communicate the successes of Iowa State. A main point during her open forum was that Iowa State needs to better communicate its accomplishments, in an effort to combat state budget cuts.

Cody West, the president of Student Government and a member of the 23-member presidential search committee, attended the speech and commented on the Regent’s selection of Wintersteen.

“I think her previous institutional knowledge will serve us all well,” West said.

During the press conference, Wintersteen answered a question regarding water quality. Wintersteen said Iowa State has been a leader when it comes to water quality in Iowa.

“We are going to maintain that commitment. Hopefully, we’ll be able to grow it,” Wintersteen said. 

Wintersteen also made a point to thank Interim President Ben Allen and his wife for all they have done for Iowa State, saying they deserve another round of applause. 

“I’ve been at Iowa State University 38 years. I love this university. I care about its future,” Wintersteen said. “I am just thrilled I’ve been given this opportunity.”

Wintersteen will begin the position Nov. 20, 2017. Her annual salary at Iowa State has been set at $525,000 in year one, $550,000 in year two, and $590,000 in year three. She also will receive a three-year deferred compensation plan with an annual contribution of $125,000 in year one, $150,000 in year two, and $200,000 in year three. Wintersteen’s contract is for five years.