Eric J. Barron (born October 26, 1951) is an American academic and university administrator who serves as the 18th president of the Pennsylvania State University. Previously, he served as the 14th president of Florida State University and director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.
Barron was born on October 26, 1951, in Lafayette, Indiana. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in geology from Florida State University in 1972. He later obtained two postgraduate degrees in oceanography, a Master of Science in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1980, both from the University of Miami.
From 1980 to 1985, Barron was employed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, as a post-doctoral research fellow and scientist. He subsequently was an associate professor at the University of Miami from 1985 to 1986. Beginning in 1986, Barron served as a faculty member at the Pennsylvania State University in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, becoming the dean until leaving Penn State in 2006, to become dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. There, he held the Jackson chair in earth system science. In 2008, Barron left the University of Texas to become director of the National Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAR), where he served (from 2008 - 2010) until being named president of Florida State University, in December 2009.
Barron served as the 14th president of FSU from February 1, 2010, until stepping down on April 2, 2014, after being named the president-elect of the Pennsylvania State University in February 2014. Following the departure of Rodney Erickson on May 12, 2014, Barron became the 18th president of Penn State.
Barron is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as chair of numerous National Science Foundation, NASA, and United States National Research Council (NRC) committees and panels, including the NRC climate research committee, the NRC board on atmospheric sciences and climate, and NASA's earth observing system science executive committee.