Eric J. Barron, PhD
President, The Pennsylvania State University
The INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award honors college presidents and chancellors who go above and beyond their everyday duties to give back to their institutions and communities. President Barron was nominated by colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a 2016 Giving Back Award recipient for his dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging community service both on his campus and in the surrounding community.
Encouraging Community Service
Barron has continuously encouraged participation in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and teaches a Presidential Leadership Academy course that encourages community involvement.
Commitment to Students’ Concerns
Barron has continued to uphold student activism, and he has shown his support for students by participating in an on-campus Black Lives Matter rally. Also, to address students’ concerns related to tuition costs, he has launched several initiatives to increase affordability by freezing in-state tuition and by ensuring that students have adequate financial and academic assistance to graduate in four years.
An Appreciation for Culture
His support has been instrumental in re-establishing the New Faces of an Ancient People Traditional American Indian Pow Wow at Penn State, a signature diversity event that has historically brought more than 6,000 visitors, 150 volunteers, almost 200 dancers, six drums, and the highest quality native vendors to central Pennsylvania.
“President Barron really gets diversity, and he’s very willing to stand up for it. … [He] demonstrates his support of diversity and inclusion on a daily basis. Through the diversity strategic planning and review process that Penn State has engaged in since the mid 1990s, it has become clear that active, visible leadership from the top makes all the difference. President Barron demonstrates that active and visible support very consistently, and that will make all the difference for Penn State.”