FSU's Barron Becomes 18th President Of Penn State

Feb 17, 2014

Florida State University will become the latest public institution to start a presidential search after its president was tapped Monday to head Penn State University as its 18th president.

Barron will be paid a base salary of $800,000—nearly twice as much as he makes now as president of Florida State. He’s also getting a $200,000 signing bonus and, if he sticks around for the duration of his five-year contract, he’ll earn another $1 million. During a Penn State Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Barron said he’s happy to be going back to the school.

“I came to understand the power of community at Penn State. We are simply unbeatable when we’re working together for a common purpose. I’ve taken those two Penn State traits, and the power of community everywhere I’ve gone. So in many ways, I’ve never left Penn State.”   

In a message to FSU faculty and staff, Barron cited Penn State’s larger budget, higher national ranking and a simpler state governance structure as reasons for his departure.

"I am very proud of my University and its progress over the last four years.  And so, I find myself ready for the next challenge," Barron said in a statement. "With the approval today of the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees, I have accepted the appointment as President of Penn State University.  With a budget of more than $4 billion annually, a national ranking among publics at #8, and the authority associated with the far simpler governance system of a state –related institution, I consider it a high compliment that they have asked me to lead their institution".

He now has the task of helping Penn State continue recovering from the sex abuse scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky.

One Penn State University trustee cited the way Barron dealt with the sexual assault investigation of FSU quarterback Jameis Winston as a reason for his hiring. And when asked by reporters about how the Winston investigation has shaped his perspective on Penn State, Barron said, "This is not one where the university president stands up and picks sides. Nor do I encourage anyone in the institution choose sides. We have to let those people, the professionals do their job and respect due process.”

Barron will be at Penn State as the school navigates a trial of its former President Graham Spanier who is accused of trying to cover up for Sandusky and longtime head coach Joe Paterno.

Florida State University's board of trustees have scheduled a meeting Wednesday to begin the search for a new president.

FSU will become the third public state university to undergo a presidential search this year. Florida A&M University recently tapped Cornell University's budget director Elmira Mangum to become its new CEO. Florida Atlantic University's new president is John Kelly, Clemson University’s vice president for agriculture, public service and economic development.

Florida's former Lieutenant Governor and State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan left the state university system chancellor post last year to assume a similar job in Pennsylvania.