Allen approved as Iowa State interim president

University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen

University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen

Jake Dalbey

With a unanimous vote, the Iowa Board of Regents approved Iowa State President Steven Leath’s resignation as well as the approval of interim President Benjamin Allen on Monday morning.

Previously acting as the president of the University of Northern Iowa, Allen will begin his interim position beginning immediately after Leath’s final day at Iowa State, which is set for May 8. Allen will receive a $525,000 salary. Until he takes over as interim, Allen will serve as Iowa State’s senior policy adviser from April 17 to May 8.

A long-time member of the Iowa State community, Allen began working as an Iowa State faculty member in 1979, eventually becoming the dean of the College of Business from 1995 to 2001.

“We spent most of our professional lives in Ames and developed many lifelong friendships,” Allen said. “We look forward to developing even more friendships with members of the Cyclone family as we engage with Iowa State University and the Ames community once again.”

During his time as interim president, Allen hopes to retain the high enrollment and graduation rates set in place during Leath’s presidency.

“Iowa State is in an excellent place with record enrollment and fundraising, growing research expenditures and the highest graduation rate in the university’s history,” Allen said. ”I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty and staff at Iowa State to keep moving the university forward as the Board of Regents searches for a permanent president.”

When discussing the upcoming presidential search, regent president Bruce Rastetter said the process would look very similar to what was seen nearly five years ago when Leath received the position.

“The first process will be confidential where committees would introduce candidates, which will cut the search down to about 10 to 12 candidates,” Rastetter said. ”Those candidates would be brought to campus for open meetings, and then the four to five finalists would then be presented to the Board of Regents.”

The regents have authorized Executive Director Bob Donley to hire a search firm, establish a search committee and determine a process and timetable to identify Leath’s permanent successor, according to a press release by Iowa State.

The presidential search committee will update the board on its progress during the regents’ April meeting. 

“Ben is a great choice to lead Iowa State through this time of transition,” Leath said in the release. “He has deep ties to the university and is a beloved member of the Cyclone family. I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition that ensures Iowa State’s momentum and progress continue.”

Allen will relocate to Ames to serve in the interim position but will not live in The Knoll – Iowa State’s presidential housing on campus.