The Iowa State University Presidential Search Committee looked in-house to select the fourth and final finalist for the ISU presidency.


Wendy Wintersteen, the endowed dean of Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will attend interviews on campus and hold an open forum in the Memorial Union on Thursday. If chosen, she or Pamela Whitten, the University of Georgia provost, would be the first female president in Iowa State history.


The first finalist, Sonny Ramaswamy, the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, visited campus on Monday. Whitten came to campus on Tuesday, and Dale Whittaker, the provost at the University of Central Florida, is set to visit campus Wednesday.


Along with serving as dean (the first endowed dean at Iowa State) since 2006, Wintersteen is also the director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. She oversees a college with more than 5,500 students and a $172 million budget (in fiscal year 2017). She;s helped raise $247 million for the college since taking over as dean.


An appointment to the presidency would extend an already long career at Iowa State for Wintersteen. Save for a short two years at the USDA, she’s been at ISU since 1979, serving as a professor, an associate dean and a director in Iowa State’s extension and outreach department.


She holds a bachelor’s degree in crop protection from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in entomology from Iowa State.


The on-campus interviews are one of the final steps toward picking Iowa State’s 16th president. The 21-member search committee began asking for applications in August and received more than 60. Last month, the committee whittled the applicants down to eight semifinalists. One of those dropped out, and the committee chose four finalists out of the remaining seven candidates.


The Board of Regents will meet at Iowa State on Oct. 23, at which time they’ll receive a report from the search committee. Then, the regents will interview the four finalists themselves before choosing the next president of Iowa State University.


ISU’s 15th president, Steven Leath, announced in March that he was leaving Ames to assume the presidency at Auburn University. Benjamin Allen, a former ISU provost and University of Northern Iowa president, took over on an interim basis on May 8.