After a long, arduous search, the Penn State Board of Trustees this afternoon unanimously approved the naming of Eric J. Barron as the 18th President of the Pennsylvania State University.
Barron will immediately be President-Elect, and will take the helm officially on May 12. He'll take over duties from Rodney Erickson, who was named President in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal and the University's firing of then-president Graham Spanier. Erickson had stated years ago of his intention to retire in June of this year.
Already seemingly much lauded within the Penn State community, Barron comes back to Happy Valley having served as the President of Florida State since 2010. While under Barron, FSU was named US News and World Report's most efficiently operated University (and, of course, the Seminoles won a football national championship). Prior to his stint at FSU, Barron spent time in Colorado and at the University of Texas, but the bulk of his career was spent at Penn State, where he taught from 1986 to 2006 in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences--eventually heading that College as Dean for his final four years in State College.
The naming of Barron is much different than the last time Penn State came close to naming their next President, in November; by most accounts, this choice seems much more in line with Penn State's stature and mission. Not counting Barron, the last five Penn State Presidents have spent time heading the Universities of Nebraska, Alabama, Texas and California-Berkeley; with Barron, we can add Florida State to that list.
For more on Barron and this news, check out the coverage from our friends over at Onward State.