Allen Greene

Auburn President Steven Leath, left, points out the different areas of the arena before the Georgia and Auburn basketball game to incoming athletics director Allen Greene in 2018. Auburn announced Friday night Leath is leaving the president's position. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

AUBURN -- Auburn President Steven Leath and members of the board of trustees’ presidential assessment working group mutually decided to part ways after extensive discussions about the university’s leadership, the school said in a press release issued Friday night.

“Dr. Leath arrived with vision and enthusiasm to take Auburn to the next level,” said Wayne T. Smith, president pro tempore of the university’s board, in the release. “We’re grateful for his dedication and commitment as Auburn made strides as a world-class public university. We wish Steve and Janet all the best.”

Under Leath’s leadership, Auburn earned the Carnegie R1 designation, placing it in the top 100 research universities in the nation. He initiated the Presidential Awards for Interdisciplinary Research and the Presidential Graduate Research Fellowships.

The Auburn Research Park substantially grew with a new child care facility and plans for a new Innovation and Research Center and a health sciences facility operated by the East Alabama Medical Center. 

“As I’ve said many times, serving as Auburn’s president has been the highlight of my career,” Leath said, in the release. “I’m confident we leave Auburn stronger than when we arrived.”

Before coming to Auburn in 2017, Leath served as president of Iowa State University and vice president for research and sponsored programs for the University of North Carolina System.

He held several positions at North Carolina State University and began his academic career at the University of Illinois, Urbana, as an extension plant pathologist.

He holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University, the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois. He serves on the National Science Board and as secretary of the Council of Presidents for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

The Auburn board will soon convene to name an interim president, according to Smith.