Eric Barron

Penn State Old Main building
Min Xian / WPSU


Penn State faculty members are calling for more input from professors, students and staff in picking the next president of the university to replace Eric Barron, who is retiring in 2022. 

Penn State football coach James Franklin speaks to reporters about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines. Penn State president Eric Barron, freshman football player Theo Johnson and Governor Tom Wolf (seated, L to R) also spoke at the event.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Governor Tom Wolf, Penn State President Eric Barron and Nittany Lions football coach James Franklin spoke together at the Pegula Ice Arena Wednesday, encouraging students to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before they leave for the summer. 

“Right now I know that this is maybe not something that is top of mind. Finals coming up, moving back home, finding summer jobs,” Wolf said. “But now that college students are eligible to get vaccinated, it is really important to make this a priority.”

Shortly after Governor Tom Wolf announced the new outline for vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania, Penn State President Eric Barron addressed pre-submitted questions from faculty and staff about how the university will deal with COVID-19 moving forward. In a livestream, Barron urged employees to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible. Those who work with students can sign up starting on Monday.

Kelly Wolgast is the director of Penn State’s COVID-19 operations control center. She says, for now, Penn Staters will have to look outside the university for a vaccine.

Head and shoulder shot of Eric Barron
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State President Eric Barron said he’s looking forward to environmental issues getting more attention — and possibly funding — under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. 

He said environmental issues have taken a “back seat” at the national level in recent years — from the government removing some climate change terminology to cuts in funding. 

Penn State president Eric Barron speaks during Wednesday's town hall.
Andrew Destin

Penn State president Eric Barron hosted a virtual town hall Wednesday to discuss racism, bias and community safety within the university. Two groups tasked with addressing these issues presented their recommendations about how Penn State should move forward.

The Select Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety and the Student Code of Conduct Task Force have drafted reports about changes they want to see at Penn State. The commission would like Penn State to make broad changes, such as promoting an inclusive and antiracist campus culture.



Penn State President Eric Barron hosted a virtual seminar on Thursday for faculty and staff to ask questions about the university's approach to the coronavirus pandemic. The university is looking into new health protocols for the spring.  

Penn State president Eric Barron
Ralph Wilson / AP Photo

Penn State plans to convert the Nittany Lion Inn into an isolation residence for students who have or have been exposed to COVID-19, and football fans should not expect to fill a crowded stadium in the fall even if fall sports resume.

Those were some of the topics Penn State President Eric Barron covered during a virtual town hall meeting for faculty and staff Monday.

The Nittany Lion Inn conversion will mean 79 layoffs. But, he said, most employees who the university had previously furloughed will be brought back in August.

Eric Barron
Ralph Wilson, File / AP Photo

Penn State is still aiming to bring students back to its campuses in the fall, and is coming up with plans for how to do that safely. That was one of the topics during a virtual town hall university leaders held Tuesday.


Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims is leading a task force focused on the return to campus and community.


view of empty Penn State mall
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State leaders say they will announce plans for the fall semester and whether students will return for in-person classes by June 15.

“We’re always trying to juggle the two competing desires for people to know what’s ahead of them, but also to be making the best decision with the most up-to-date epidemiological and health information at our fingertips,” said Provost Nick Jones.

He and Penn State President Eric Barron answered questions about the impact of COVID-19 on Penn State during Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, which was held remotely.

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Two Penn State students who were traveling abroad have tested positive for COVID-19, the university’s president, Eric Barron, said.


Barron was speaking to the Board of Trustees Thursday morning during a telephone meeting.


A Penn State spokesman said the students have not been on campus. He said one student is back in the United States and has been asymptomatic. The other is still abroad. The university, he said, is “doing whatever we can to support the student, who we understand is feeling better.”

Student pointing to a land map at a community forum
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Penn State and ClearWater Conservancy are working to conserve about 365 acres of university land between Whitehall Road and Rothrock State Park. Residents at a community meeting Thursday learned about the project and gave feedback about what they would like to see.

Bill Corey, a Ferguson Township resident, was one of the people crowded around the tables and easles with information and maps about the property. While Corey was unhappy with Penn State’s sale of nearby land to a developer, he was glad to see the detailed information presented on the land in line to be conserved.

Old Main building at Penn State

In-state students at Penn State may be spared a tuition increase in the upcoming school year. 

Part of the state budget that’s on the table is a 3 percent increase in funding for Penn State and the other state-related universities. The university says it will keep tuition flat if it gets a 3 percent increase in funding from the state.

Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman says he expects the Senate to take up the budget Friday. The state House approved in Wednesday.

Penn State president Eric Barron
Ralph Wilson / AP Photo


Penn State president Eric Barron says the university will become a national leader in reforming the college fraternity and sorority system. That’s after the hazing-related death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

A video presentation launching the "All In at Penn State" program plays on the Old Main facade on Penn State's University Park campus on October 6, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Penn State held the official kick-off event for its new diversity and inclusion initiative, “All In at Penn State,” in front of Old Main. The presentation included colorful video projections splashed across the building’s facade and even a special Snapchat filter for attendees.

The university hopes the event will spark a renewed focus on welcoming underrepresented groups and voices. Penn State president Eric Barron spoke about what the “All In” program means.

Sandusky and Paterno
Paul Vathis / AP Photo

A man who claims Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him in 1976 says in newly unsealed court documents that he told Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno about the incident the very next day, and Paterno responded callously.

The man identified as John Doe 150 testified in October 2014 that about six other boys in a shower heard him yell that Sandusky had sexually penetrated him with a finger.

A judge unsealed extensive records Tuesday from Penn State's insurance litigation over coverage of Sandusky-related claims.

Penn State President Eric Barron says employees will see increases in what they pay toward healthcare, but they can also likely expect raises this year. Barron released this information in a series of videos to staff and faculty members to mark the end of the spring semester.

Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Community & Economic Development Sheri Collins, Manager of the Borough of State College Tom Fountaine, Penn State President Eric Barron, Penn State Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey, the Nittany Lion mascot,
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

There was a spirit of celebration in downtown State College yesterday. It wasn’t a pep rally – it was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new start-up accelerator named Happy Valley LaunchBox.

It’s a part of the “Invent Penn State” program the university started last year, but it’s not just for students. Here’s how it works – business start-ups pitch their ideas and if approved, they receive up to nine months of free office space, a 10-week business class and professional legal and marketing advice.  

Commentary: Pa. Budget Failure Puts Flagship Universities At Risk

Feb 24, 2016
Eric Barron
Ralph Wilson, File / AP Photo

As leaders of Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities, we are calling for quick and decisive action to address the commonwealth’s failure to fund our schools.

Most Pennsylvanians are aware of the state’s continuing budget impasse. What many citizens may not realize is that four of our state’s most vibrant universities—Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and Lincoln—receive funds via appropriation bills that exist outside of the state’s broader general budget. And now, our stand-alone appropriation bills have become the latest bargaining chip in a protracted political fight.

Eric Barron
Marc Levy / AP

The president of Penn State says the university might need to re-evaluate the entire fraternity system. This soul-searching comes after allegations a fraternity posted nude photos to Facebook of women who appeared to be passed out or asleep.

Penn State President Eric Barron calls the pictures on the Facebook page “appalling” and “potentially criminal.” Speaking to faculty earlier this week, he indicated consequences could come swiftly.

Eric Barron

Stanford has StubHub. Harvard has Facebook. Yale has FedEx.

So where’s Penn State’s startup breakthrough? After all, the university has received over $800 million in research funding every year since 2011. That amount of money places Penn State in the top 20 funded universities in the country.