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Barron Takes Helm of FSU

February 8th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Climatologist Eric Barron took over the helm of Florida State University today, becoming the schools 14th President. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, he arrives at a time of major challenges.
Eric Barron arrived for his first day at the FSU Tallahassee Campus after driving 33 hours. He came from his home in Boulder, Colorado, where he ran the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Students and staff who met with the new president are encouraged with the new focus on his background of research and students.

“He wants to make this more of a community, a student community,” student Ricky Bailey said. “Even though we are a large university he wants to make it feel more like home.”

“I’m just very excited that we have a new president and are starting a new era for Florida State,” student Allison Kibbey said.

The new president comes at a time when the challenges have never been greater. More than 80 million dollars have been cut from the school’s budget over the last three years. Tenured professors have been fired and more cuts are likely on the way.

Tuition will almost certainly go up again as lawmakers face a deficit of 3 billion dollars. Despite the challenges, the new president is optimistic.

“I think that it’s extremely important for people to hear, from the top of the university, to hear what the facts are,” Barron said. “Here’s the box we’re in, and here’s where we have room to push out of the box and where we don’t.”

One of the biggest challenges facing FSU was handled in the waning hours by the last president. That’s the ousting of legendary coach Bobby Bowden. That gives Barron a fresh start with alumni to make or break his tenure at the school.

Barron is a 1973 graduate of FSU who is still articulating his vision for the University.

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