Florida State President Eric Barron acknowledged his impending move to Penn State for the first time publicly in an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat today. This confirms Onward State’s report yesterday, although Penn State has yet to acknowledge its choice. The move is expected to become official on Monday at a special Board of Trustees meeting.
“News of Barron’s pending exit came without warning Friday afternoon. It was first reported on a Penn State student blog and spread quickly from Pennsylvania to Tallahassee, where FSU’s leadership team was taken by surprise,” the Democrat reported.
“People would be surprised at how much pain is associated with leaving Florida State,” Barron said. “It is awfully hard.”
Penn State President Rodney Erickson has said he’ll retire by June at the latest, although that move could be expedited with the hire of Barron. The President-in-waiting isn’t sure yet when he’ll take over in Old Main.
“Nobody cares for a lame duck and how they might perform,” he said to the Democrat. “My view is, I am committed to do whatever it takes so it works however Florida State needs to have it work. My board (FSU) needs to be in the driver’s seat.”
“If you’re doing a good job, there’s no such thing as a good time, there’s no finish line. There’s always the next thing you want to accomplish. Any president who’s thinking about a finish line is thinking about their retirement and not doing their job.”
Penn State is not unfamiliar territory for Barron. He was dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and professor of geosciences at Penn State from 1986 to 2002. The published climatologist explained his decision to switch jobs.
“I’m not doing it for the money, but I have to admit the money is nice,” Barron told the Democrat. “Here’s the next challenge and it’s a very different model. I think it’s a real opportunity to continue the same path I’ve always taken and that’s to make the institution I work at better…It got to be a little more personal, so I took a look.”
We’ll have full coverage on Monday morning as Penn State’s welcomes Eric Barron home.