News

Leath Named UNC Vice President for Research

July 3, 2007

For more information contact Joni Worthington at (919) 962-4629 or worthj@northcarolina.edu

July 3, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Leath Named UNC Vice President for Research

CHAPEL HILL – Steven Leath, associate dean for research and director of the NC Agricultural Research Service at North Carolina State University, has been named vice president for research of the multi-campus University of North Carolina system.  Leath’s appointment, effective July 16, was announced today by UNC President Erskine Bowles.  Leath succeeds Russ Lea, who retired from the post in May.

As vice president, Leath will promote research and sponsored programs across the full spectrum of academic disciplines and interdisciplinary activities carried out by UNC’s 16 university campuses.  He will help advocate for increased levels of external support from federal, state, and private sources, and will work closely with the senior vice president for academic affairs and campus research administrators to develop research and sponsored program activity in support of each campus’ mission.  Each year, UNC campuses attract more than $1 billion in competitive research grants and contracts—mostly from the federal government. 

Leath, who has been affiliated with NC State for more than two decades, holds a bachelor’s degree in plant science from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in the field from the University of Delaware, and a doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Illinois.  He first joined the faculty of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 1985 as a plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service unit based on the NC State campus.  He was named research leader of the unit in 1998, shortly before beginning a one-year stint as the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s acting national program leader for grain crops.

Leath returned to NC State in 2001 as a professor and assistant director of the NC Agricultural Research Service.  Shortly after being promoted to associate director of the Research Service in 2003, he was named interim director and interim associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  He assumed both positions on a permanent basis in 2005.  Since last year, Leath also has served concurrently as interim assistant vice chancellor for research, overseeing NC State’s participation in the development of the North Carolina Research Campus at Kannapolis.

In announcing the appointment, President Bowles said, “Steve Leath is a proven researcher and administrator who brings a deep-seated understanding of the critical role of University research in improving North Carolina’s quality of life and competitive position in a knowledge-based global economy.  Over the past two decades, he has earned the respect and trust of colleagues all across the state, and we are delighted that he has agreed to join our leadership team at General Administration.

The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 202,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.  UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists.  The UNC Center for Public Television, with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, is also under the University umbrella.