Steven Leath '79 Plant Science, President, Iowa State University

Steven Leath is president of Iowa State University, which educates more than 34,000 students every year, employs more than 6,300 faculty and staff, , and is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Leath began his career as an extension plant pathologist in Illinois, and then joined North Carolina State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as a plant pathologist, focusing on disease control and genetics of disease resistance crops. Leath held several positions, including associate dean and director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service. He then served as Vice President for Research for the University of North Carolina General Administration, where he oversaw $1.4 billion in grants and contracts. He also oversaw the university's inter-institutional centers and held lead roles in the North Carolina State University Centennial Campus, the North Carolina Research Campus , Research Triangle Park, , and the David H. Murdock Research Institute.

Leath, a member of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, serves on the board of directors of the International Fertilizer Development Center, an international soil fertility and agricultural development center; the Big 12 Conference; and Bankers Trust. He is also a board member of the Public Flagship Network, composed of public university leaders who are addressing the future of public higher education; and the University Innovation Alliance, a group of 11 public research universities focused on making college degrees more attainable for students with financial needs. He co-chairs the Cultivation Corridor initiative, which aims to make Central Iowa the nation's premier agbioscience region.

Leath is a member of the Penn State Alumni Association. He and his wife, Janet, have two adult sons.

News Release

Acceptance Speech

Associate Director of Alumni Relations

Kelly Praskovich
  • Associate Director of Alumni Relations

Development and Alumni Relations


240 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802