On February 17, 2014, Eric J. Barron was named as the 18th President of The Pennsylvania State University and will assume responsibilities for the presidency on May 12. Dr. Barron has nearly 35 years of experience in academic administration, education, research and public service, as well as fiscal management within large and complex institutions. He has served as the president of Florida State University in Tallahassee since 2010, and has held several notable positions within higher education, including dean of Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 2002 to 2006.
Barron will succeed geographer Rodney A. Erickson, who in 2012 announced his intention to retire before June 30, 2014. I was pleasantly surprised when a fellow Penn Stater told me at band tonight (there are two Penn State Blue Band alumni in the Concord Band) that the new president was "one of yours," meaning another Earth and Mineral Sciences type. I also like that Barron was at Penn State, went elsewhere (a few elsewheres actually including serving as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)) and returned to State College. I am confident that Barron will lead Penn State with a steady hand and suspect he will be a force in climate change studies and enhancing STEM education.
I do recall the buzz in the geography department back in the late 1980s at Penn State when Barron was made the director of the Earth System Science Center. I think the term the other grad students used was "hot shot."
Image courtesy Penn State News.