Penn State closing in on president

Penn State is likely to name its next president Monday, according to a release from the university.

The Board of Trustees will meet at noon to “consider a presidential appointment,” according to the release. The public meeting will be held at the Penn State Conference Center and Hotel, with a press conference to follow.

The meeting will also stream online at

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers and spokesman David LaTorre did not return requests for comment as of press time Friday.

Multiple published reports have named Florida State President Eric J. Barron as Penn State’s next leader. Barron took over FSU’s presidency in 2010.

Barron has previous ties to Penn State. He served as a professor of geosciences, director of the Earth System Science Center, director of the EMS Environmental Institute and as dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, according to Florida State’s website.

The Layfayette, Ind.-native was a 1973 FSU alumnus and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Miami.

Calls to Florida State were not returned as of press time Friday.

Barron’s chief of staff, David Coburn, told the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper that Barron was “off the grid” to visit family in New York.

Penn State was close to naming a new president in early November, but a background check revealed concerns about the candidate, David R. Smith, president of the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University, had been padding his state pay.

The Board of Trustees had scheduled a meeting for Nov. 1 to discuss personnel and then abruptly canceled it hours later after the allegations against Smith came to the university’s attention.

Despite the setback, Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Masser said at the board’s January meeting that the presidential search was “on pace” and that a candidate was expected to be named “in the months ahead.”

Current Penn State President Rodney Erickson is set to retire on June 30. He took over the presidency after then-president Graham Spanier resigned on Nov. 9, 2011, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case.