Welcome, President Barron

"I am thrilled to take on the leadership role of one of the nation's most prestigious universities."—Eric J. Barron

Eric and Molly Barron

Eric and Molly Barron

Eric J. Barron, the 18th President of the University, with his wife, Molly, at Schreyer House on Penn State's University Park campus.

Image: Patrick Mansell

"Eric Barron is a leader who will help realize the very best of this institution, and successfully lead Penn State into the future."—Rodney A. Erickson, Outgoing President, Penn State

Dr. Barron is, among other things, an administrator, educator, researcher, and public servant. He taught in and served as dean of Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and was the founding director of the Earth System Science Center during his earlier years at the University. Most recently, he was president of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Dr. Barron has arrived from Florida State with nearly 35 years of experience in higher education and a solid track record as a savvy manager of fiscal policy within large and complex institutions. During his tenure as president, he led Florida State to two consecutive U.S. News and World Report rankings as the nation's "most efficiently operated" institution of higher education.

Eric Barron posing with students

Eric Barron with student leaders

Eric Barron met with student leaders Feb. 17, in the Alumni Lounge of Old Main. Students represented the likes of the University Park Undergraduate Association, Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council and the Daily Collegian.

Image: Bill Zimmerman

"I believe that Dr. Barron will be an outstanding president and a wonderful collaborator and friend to Penn State alumni everywhere."—David Han, M.D., Past President, Penn State Alumni Association; Associate Professor

He spent 20 years of his earlier career at Penn State, including serving the deanship of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 2002 to 2006, and directorship of the Earth System Science Center, one of the first major initiatives focused on the total study of Earth as a system, from 1986 to 2002. He also had a simultaneous appointment as director of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Environment Institute from 1998 to 2002. In 1999, he was named Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at Penn State. During his tenure as director of the center and institute, Industry Week magazine ranked him among "50 R&D Stars to Watch."

An accomplished scientist with a long background in atmospheric research, Dr. Barron served as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 2008 to 2010 and as dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2008. Early in his career he was a postdoctoral research fellow and scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, a federal research center focusing on atmospheric and related science issues. Dr. Barron originally worked at NCAR as a postdoctoral fellow (1981–85), and served for one year on the faculty at the University of Miami before joining Penn State.

Eric Barron greeted by Dr. Erickson

President Eric Barron with Rodney Erickson

Eric J. Barron was welcomed by then-Penn State President Rodney Erickson during a special meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees on February 17 at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel. Barron was selected unanimously and becomes the 18th President of Penn State in May 2014.

Image: Patrick Mansell

"An award-winning teacher, Dr. Barron has been an innovative leader, providing undergraduate students with superior curricular and extracurricular experiences."—Brenton Yarnal, Chair, University Faculty Senate; Professor of Geography, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Over the years, Dr. Barron has lent his significant expertise in the areas of atmospheric science and the geosciences to many national committees and federal organizations, including contributions as chair of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) science advisory board and nearly 20 years of service as the chair of multiple National Research Council committees and boards.

Throughout his career he has earned numerous accolades and awards, including Penn State's Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999); the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's (NASA) Distinguished Public Service Medal (2003); and the Bridge Builders Leadership Award from the Martin Luther King Foundation of Florida (2012).

Dr. Barron earned a bachelor of science degree in geology at Florida State in 1973 before moving on to the University of Miami, where he earned master's and doctoral degrees in oceanography, in 1976 and 1980, respectively.