- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Recent editorials from Florida newspapers:

Feb. 17

Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat on FSU’s challenge of finding new president:

Florida State University is one of the dominant components of this city’s life, so it’s no surprise that word spread like wildfire that Eric Barron was leaving to become president of Penn State.

People were shocked. Some hoped it wasn’t true, and others felt abandoned. It showed the respect that Dr. Barron has earned since becoming president of his alma mater four years ago.

By Monday, with Penn State trustees unanimously approving Dr. Barron’s appointment, the reaction shifted to: What’s next? Whom will trustees name as interim? What will they seek in a new leader? When will that person be on board?

Florida State isn’t used to losing a president this way. Not since Gordon W. Blackwell left for Furman University in 1965 has a president of FSU stepped down to take a job at another school.

A comfort zone was disturbed. As president, Dr. Barron sold a vision that FSU was bound for greatness, not only in sports but also, more importantly, in academics and economic development.

Dr. Barron constantly dove into the political arena, pressing the importance of investing in higher education to a governor and Legislature that had shortchanged higher-education funding while insisting that universities meet the demands of the future job market.

An ambitious $1 billion giving campaign already has netted more than $500 million. The university’s football team won the national college championship and its quarterback the Heisman trophy. Dr. Barron’s understanding of the business of college sports influenced change within the Atlantic Coast Conference, benefiting the university.

Tallahassee owes Dr. Barron thanks for what he has accomplished. We’re sorry to see him leave.

He has instilled a belief that FSU is a great university that can become greater.

Getting there makes the trustees’ next steps even more challenging.



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