Auburn's board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to elect Steven Leath as the university's 19 president. The search for the new leader at Auburn is now underway, according to Auburn's website.
In recent months, Leath faced criticism after he acknowledged he used university planes for trips that mixed personal and official business.
The university employs 6,300 faculty and staff, and is esteemed as one of two Iowa research universities in the Association of American Universities. Leath has reimbursed the university for those flights, according to AP.
"I would like to thank President Leath for his service to Iowa State University, the Board of Regents and the state of Iowa".
But Leath has struggled to get state lawmakers on board with more funding to support the growing student body.
Leath has published nearly 100 scientific articles in his career, mainly on plant disease, pathology and breeding, according to his official Iowa State biography.
He wrote that after much consideration, he and first lady Janet Leath viewed the opportunity at Auburn as "one we could not pass up" and realized "our destiny is in Alabama and leading one of the nation's great land-grant universities to even greater prominence".
In the report, Larry Teeter, professor of forest economics and immediate past chair of the university senate, said, "We found an accomplished leader through an inclusive search process with all campus constituencies represented".
And while not all credited to Leath, Iowa State student enrollment has increased almost 44 percent in the past decade, a growth that has both challenged and driven faculty and administration to maintain quality with an ever-growing quantity.
In a letter to the community, Leath conveyed his love for Iowa State along with his resignation as ISU's president.
"The contribution Jay and Susie Gogue made to Auburn is immeasurable", said McCrary. I'm sure this played a large part in Auburn's decision.