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New President Seeks to Move Forward 

Image Courtesy:  Patrick Mansell

Current Florida State University President, Eric Barron feels that he has a huge task at hand when he becomes the 21 President of the Pennsylvania State University on May 12. Shifting the spotlight from a university that has had the likes of a nationwide child sexual abuse scandal, and students making bombs on campus is certainly an uphill climb.

Penn State’s image has suffered greatly from these instances amongst others, but Barron is here to restore it, and move on.

One of his main goals is to improve student engagement outside of the classroom. Barron feels that there is evidence that students perform better, are happier and get better jobs if they participate in worthwhile activities outside the classroom. He also aims to improve their career success and capitalize on the intellectual property that the university produces.

Cost of attendance is also something Barron wishes to address. During a phone interview conducted by the Associated Press, Barron addressed this issue.

“You’re serving the state of Pennsylvania, and the university is expensive,” Barron said. “Are we doing all the things that we can and want to do to make sure that no one decides against Penn State because they can’t afford it?”

Even when it comes to student athletes, Barron’s goals are in the right place. While he acknowledged that the Nittany Lions football program plays a huge positive part financially for this university and is also the reason so many alumni come back to campus, Barron stresses that education “is and will come first.”

Barron himself is a former Nittany Lion himself. While he did not receive his education here, he was an employee of the university for 20 years.

He joined the university’s faculty in 1986 as director of the Earth System Science Center and associate professor of geosciences. In 2002, he was elevated from director of the university’s Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Environment Institute to dean of the school’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

During his tenure here, he recognized the fast paced growth of the university, and expects it to be the same when he rejoins PSU.

Within his first few months at the university, Barron plans on visiting each and every Penn State campus throughout the entire state in hopes of establishing a real time connection with the students and faculty that he will be the head of.

Barron has accepted the job knowing the challenges he faces, but it almost seems like the perfect fit. A former Penn State Alumnus, with the right mindset and proven success at a higher level, simply trying to make a difference. Then again, as faculty and students, aren’t we all?

Ryan Tuttle

Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, rjt5281@psu.edu

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