Education

FSU's Eric Barron the Next Penn State President

By: Jim Turner News Service of Florida | Posted: February 16, 2014 12:01 AM
Eric Barron

Eric J. Barron

Penn State University is expected to name Florida State University President Eric Barron to the same position on Monday, according to media reports.

Barron, who has been president of FSU since Feb. 1, 2010, would be taking on one of the highest-profile presidencies in the nation at a school that continues to re-establish its reputation following a child sex-abuse scandal involving now-jailed former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

A press conference at the State College, Pa., school is planned for Monday, after the Penn State board of trustees holds a special noon meeting to consider the appointment. The meeting and press conference will be streamed live on the Web by the university.

Officials from Penn State did not immediately return requests for comment Friday.

The FSU board of trustees chairman, Allan Bense, issued a statement late Friday saying there has been "no official communication from anyone about this."

"If it is true that Dr. Barron is leaving, it will be a great loss for Florida State University," Bense said in the release. "But we would certainly wish him well in his new endeavor. He would be greatly missed."

A spokeswoman for the Florida State University System deferred comment to FSU.

The Penn State trustees have been searching for a new president for about a year, contacting nearly 400 people about the job, according to the Centre Daily Times in State College.

The Times is among the news organizations citing unnamed sources to confirm Barron's hiring.

"Barron, who previously was the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences here, has been chosen to be Penn State's 18th president," the Times posted online Friday.

Barron, a 1973 FSU graduate, has long ties to Penn State.

From 1986 to 2006, he served as professor of geosciences, director of the Earth System Science Center, director of the EMS Environmental Institute, and finally dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Barron will replace Rodney Erickson, who took the position after the Sandusky scandal forced Graham B. Spanier out of office in November 2011. The scandal also resulted in the firing of the football team's longtime head coach, Joe Paterno, and strict NCAA sanctions on the football team.

Erickson, who has announced he will step down as president on June 30, is being paid $600,000 a year to oversee the 96,000-student, 24-campus university, which employs 44,000 on an annual operating budget of $4 billion.

At FSU, Barron received a base salary of $395,000 a year, plus bonuses of $100,000 for each $100 million in fundraising for the school.

Barron was director of the Boulder, Colo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research before taking the FSU job.

Barron follows former Florida Chancellor Frank Brogan to the Keystone State.

Brogan ended a four-year run as the head of Florida's State University System in August to take a similar position with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Brogan is being paid $327,500 a year.


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