After four short years, President Eric Barron is leaving FSU for Penn State. Barron earned his undergraduate degree in Geology at FSU, but spent about 20 years at Penn State as a faculty member and Dean.
After four years, President Barron had just about gotten enough traction to start accomplishing big things for FSU. His contract with FSU was for five years – reflecting this reality. We will never know what might have been accomplished with him. But now we will learn what it’s like to face a legislative session without a leader.
Why did Barron decide to leave? Perhaps the best answer is near the end of a message Barron sent to the FSU community on Monday, which began with the sentence, “I need to communicate with you about my future plans.” Yup.
The key bit near the end of the message is in italics in this sentence: “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.”
Ah, authority. President Barron had the authority to build athletic facilities. He had the authority to build student support facilities. But he did not have the authority to build academic facilities. And with the drying up of the PECO revenue stream, there is no obvious prospect for funding academic facilities.
President Barron – May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And the rains fall soft upon your fields.