FSU trustees choose alum as president

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State University on Tuesday picked a former student as its new president.

After some debate about how the selection process was handled, the school’s trustees voted unanimously to hire Eric J. Barron to succeed T.K. Wetherell as the university’s 14th president.

“I like to get the job done,” Barron told trustees before their vote. “That’s what I’m all about.”

The length of Barron’s contract and how much he’ll be paid must still be negotiated, Barron said afterward. A starting date has also not been determined.

“It’ll be public as soon as all of that occurs,” he said.

Barron was the only candidate advanced to the trustees by the university’s 19-member presidential search advisory committee. The development led to a sharp exchange between trustees chairman Jim Smith and vice chairman Harold Knowles.

Despite Knowles’ displeasure with the selection process, he voted for Barron.

Barron, 58, is director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and previously served was dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas and dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University.

A native of Lafayette, Ind., he graduated from high school in Atlanta. Barron earned a geology degree from Florida State in 1973 and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Miami.

“His national prominence in his field, his extensive fundraising experience and his superlative administrative skills are an excellent fit for Florida State,” Smith said.

Wetherell, who turns 64 later in the month, will be appointed as a tenured professor in the College of Education and President Emeritus when Barron takes office.