Eric Barron era begins amid challenges for Penn State University

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Eric Barron, hired this week to be Penn State University's next president, is kicking off his tenure by expressing a desire to strengthen the institution and listen to the people who work there and care about it.

Barron said he'll start by educating himself about conditions at the university where he worked as a professor and dean for 20 years.

The fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, and what to do about Joe Paterno's legacy there, will be high on the list of topics.

As he prepares to take over by mid-May, Barron can expect to hear from students, alumni, employees and Nittany Lions football fans. In the near term, Barron said, he will focus on listening.

Barron has been president at Florida State. He was named Monday to lead Penn State.

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