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Leath resigns as Auburn President; Jay Gogue recommended for interim


AUBURN, Ala. – The executive committee of the Auburn University Board of Trustees voted to accept the resignation of Steven Leath as the university’s president, according to a special statement made by the Auburn Board of Trustees on Sunday.

According to the statement, the committee convened telephonically. Additionally, the group voted to recommend Jay Gogue for the position of interim university president. Before Leath’s tenure, Gogue served as Auburn’s 18th president for 10 years.

Members of the full Board of Trustees will consider the executive committee’s recommendation during a specially-called meeting on July 8.

Leath and members of the Board of Trustees’ presidential assessment working group mutually decided to part ways on Friday.

“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. “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.”

During Leath’s tenure, 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,” said Leath. “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.

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