Fred Leinbach was dean of agriculture and head of animal husbandry at the University of Maryland before coming to State. Although his presidency was marked by a controversy in the Division of Agriculture, which led to Leinbach's eventual resignation and haunted the college for many years, his term was not without positive highlights.
Many buildings were constructed during Leinbach's term, including many agricultural buildings, the Men's dormitory, Printing and Rural Journalism, and "the Barn." Public power from the Missouri River Basin Project became available during this time, which helped in running the campus. The Faculty Association was formed, giving faculty a voice in decisions involving their work. The graduate program continued to develop, and enrollment increased considerably both in graduate and undergraduate programs. His tenure also saw the first hiring of a vice president to cope with increasing enrollment. Another highlight of Leinbach's term was the acquisition of the Harvey Dunn paintings, which now form a core collection for the South Dakota Art Museum.