THE NEW president of Penn State says he's visited half the university's 24 branch campuses and plans to see more before taking office.

Eric Barron met with student leaders from those schools on Saturday at the main campus in State College.

The Centre Daily Times reports it was Barron's first chance to formally speak with students since being named president in February. Barron says his goal is to listen and learn as much as he can before starting his job May 12.

He described a "tremendous sense of pride, a real sense of community" at the branch institutions.

Barron also says he supports the idea of having a student sit on Penn State's board of trustees.

- Associated Press