Trustees likely to pick alum, nat'l climatologist as next prez
FSU trustees today are expected to choose an FSU alum and nationally renowned climatologist as the institution's 14th president, replacing longtime leader T.K. Wetherell, who is retiring.
The selection of Eric Barron, currently director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, comes as FSU aims to boost its national research reputation and ultimately secure membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities. UF is the only state university in the invitation-only, 62-member AAU.
Barron was one of 26 to apply and one of 3 finalists interviewed last week. In interviews with the search committee and with students, faculty and staff, he quickly emerged as the strongest candidate -- thanks to his past experience as a dean at Penn State and the University of Texas (both AAU institutions) and his emphasis on student engagement and fundraising.
"Looking at him, it just feels like hey, we've got a homerun," said trustees chairman Jim Smith, a member of the search committee.
Rep. Will Weatherford, an FSU grad who served on the search group, said he most liked Barron's discussion of making FSU "a student-centered university."
"He displayed the attributes of a servant leader," Weatherford said. "He doesn't ask you to do something he wouldn't do himself....and he's a Nole, which is a plus."