Miles Lackey will be following President Steven Leath from Iowa State University to The Plains as Auburn’s new chief of staff.
Lackey is bringing along his family of three young children and his wife for the big move. His job begins on Jan. 2, 2018.
“We are excited to join the University family,” Lackey said. “Even before I had taken my first visit to Auburn, I had heard so many wonderful things about it.”
Lackey has two twin boys and a young daughter that take up most of his free time, but when able, he likes to play golf.
Lackey said he is thrilled to raise a family in Auburn after hearing only positive remarks on the city. The family plans to move as soon as possible in order to find a house and get settled in before he starts in Samford.
Leath and Lackey worked well together at Iowa State, Lackey said. Lackey worked with the University of North Carolina system for some time before Leath joined the team, focused on research. Lackey said Leath worked with him on multiple projects and their teamwork was remarkable.
“The opportunities are just kind of aligning,” Lackey said.
Lackey said Leath is very good at establishing a vision and keeping to the University’s mission. Lackey said he adds value by helping to implement the strategy that will achieve the goals ahead.
Lackey said he values higher education deeply. He was the first man in his family to graduate from college and grew up in a single-parent household. He was one of three children.
“I watched my [mother] struggle, and I watched her really have to work incredibly hard to support us three kids,” Lackey said. “She told me early on, ‘Hey, look. I don’t have a lot of options because I don’t have a college degree.’”
Lackey said that stuck with him. He wants to make his mother proud and have the flexibility in his life to better himself and his family. He said his college degree has given him great opportunities, which is why he chose to lead in higher education.
Lackey’s opportunities took off when he graduated from a small liberal arts college in North Carolina where he earned a political science degree. At the time when he was living in North Carolina, the economy was hit hard, and he found very few opportunities in his hometown.
“I wish that I could tell you that I had this strategic plan when I was in high school, and it was perfectly executed,” Lackey said. “Truth be told, I ‘Forrest Gumped’ my way into higher ed administration.”
He had no immediate interest in moving to Washington D.C., but when he found little opportunity, he applied for an internship on Capitol Hill. After impressing his supervisors, he was offered a job.
Lackey said his time on Capitol Hill got him started in public policy. Through various references, Lackey was asked to be the director of federal relations of the UNC system.
“I found that to be a really important job and one that I could be very passionate about,” Lackey said.
Lackey said he “cut his teeth” in public higher education and looked to continue learning. He began working with UNC-Chapel Hill directly for almost two years.
Leath was named the president of Iowa State at that point and was looking for someone with Lackey’s skills in small business, federal
Lackey plans to assist the president in the creation of an overarching platform that will outline the goals ahead for the administration. Leath has stressed research at the University, and Lackey supports it and hopes to bring his goals to fruition.
“I hate to get too detailed because the comprehensive platform will get into this so much more,” Lackey said.