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FSU's New Leader

Florida State University trustees selected Eric J. Barron to succeed T.K. Wetherell as president at a date to be announced later. Following are some of Barron’s thoughts on ...

> School resources: “One of the critical things about improving the university revolves around resources. The university’s quality rank now is quite a bit higher than its resources, which tells you that you have a university that’s working hard, committed and effective. If you can focus more resources on FSU, you can expect to receive really good advantages from those.”

Eric J. Barron
Eric J. Barron, 58,
14th president,
Florida State University

Career: Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo., since 2008; previous posts: Dean, University of Texas; professor and dean, Penn State University

Honors: NASA Distinguished Service Medal, 2003; fellow, National Institute for Environmental Science, Cambridge University, 2002

Education: Bachelor’s in geology, FSU, 1973; master’s and doctorate in oceanography, University of Miami, 1976 and 1980

> Fund raising: “A $1-billion fund-raising campaign is certainly a benchmark that I will be considering. But you have to be convinced the capacity is there. There are a lot of challenges: Staffing, the vision and goals to connect with alumni.”

> Tapping alumni: “Now, 7% of the alumni give back to the university in some way; a university running on all cylinders should be reaching 25%. You need to connect with them with your goals. They like to see the impact their hard-earned dollar makes. You could say the same thing in connecting with foundations and organizations.”

> Top goal: “I would like to make a hallmark of my administration the creation of a student center at each of the 15 colleges. Perhaps a $100-million campaign at $7 million to $8 million per college would allow you to renovate some space and provide personnel to attract students and promote their success. Imagine the educational environment of a small liberal arts college with all the resources of a large research-oriented university ... and then deliver that education spirit to the students.”

> Research: “Having focused research areas, where you know you will drive jobs for graduates and serve the needs of the nation and the world is another element in advancing the university. There is a lot of wisdom in building on the talents that you have. We’re looking at areas related to human health, energy, environment and materials, areas where there will be large and enduring interest among government, industry and foundations. The success of a university depends on having a comprehensive and broad view of research.”