Bashar W. Hanna named Bloomsburg University's 19th president

Former vice president of Delaware Valley University to lead institution beginning July 7

HARRISBURG — The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today unanimously selected Bashar W. Hanna to be the next president of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, effective July 7.

Hanna is a professor of biology and former vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown. He previously was associate provost at Ithaca College and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and interim provost at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

“Bashar Hanna has a broad range of both teaching and administrative experience, and has worked closely throughout his career with both students and faculty,” said Board of Governors Chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “With his vast array of skills, his knowledge and his experience, we are confident he will be an excellent leader for Bloomsburg University.”

As vice president for academic affairs at Delaware Valley, Hanna helped implement a $60 million capital campaign; launched a number of new undergraduate and graduate programs, including the school’s first doctoral degree; and created articulation agreements with five Pennsylvania community colleges, leading to a 40 percent increase in transfer students. Delaware Valley achieved university status during his tenure as vice president and dean of faculty.

“Success—both personal and institutional—has been a hallmark of President-select Hanna’s career,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “He will be a valuable addition to our presidential leadership team. I look forward to working with him on behalf of the university and the entire State System.”

Hanna said he is honored to have been selected to serve as Bloomsburg’s next president and looks forward to returning to the State System.

“I am grateful to the Bloomsburg University family, especially the presidential search committee and Council of Trustees, and to Chancellor Brogan and his team as well as the Board of Governors for selecting me to serve as the 19th president of this wonderful university,” Hanna said. “I look forward to collaborating with Bloomsburg’s highly accomplished faculty, staff and administrators to help our students realize their personal and professional aspirations.”

The Board’s action today comes at the conclusion of a national search for a successor to David L. Soltz, who will retire in July after serving for nine and a half years as Bloomsburg University president.

Council of Trustees Chair Patrick Wilson said the Council believes Hanna has the “vision and leadership qualities to build upon the reputation of Bloomsburg University and continue the university’s forward momentum in preparing students for personal and professional success.”

“On behalf of the Council of Trustees, we are excited to welcome him to the Bloomsburg family, and we look forward to working with him to advance the collective goals of the university,” Wilson said.

Mary Jane Bowes, who chaired the presidential search committee, also praised Hanna’s selection, saying he has a “deep understanding of the university’s mission, vision and values, and possesses the desired qualities to be the next president of Bloomsburg University. The committee believed that Dr. Hanna would continue our tradition of excellence and advance our effort to deliver a high-quality, student-centered educational experience.”

Hanna holds three degrees from Temple University, a Bachelor of Arts in biology, a Master of Arts in developmental biology and a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology.

Prior to his appointment as vice president and dean at Delaware Valley in 2011, Hanna served for two years as associate provost and lecturer at Ithaca College in New York. He was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Kutztown University from 2005 through 2009; and, previously, was the chief academic officer and dean of academic affairs for DeVry University.

Hanna began his academic career at Temple University as assistant director of the Ronald McNair Faculty-in-Training Program, where he mentored McNair scholars, assisting them in gaining admission into doctoral programs at Harvard University and the universities of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, California-Berkeley and Florida. He later was an instructor in the departments of biology and mathematics at Temple; the founding director of the university’s Math & Science Resource Center; and served as assistant vice provost for research and sponsored projects and associate dean of the College of Science and Technology.

Hanna has garnered more than $8 million in external funding for projects, programs and scholarships during his career.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Drug Discovery Institute and the American Association of University Administrators, of which he was president for two years. He also has served with a variety of other organizations, including the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County and the National Council on Undergraduate Research.

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania has a current enrollment of about 9,700 students. It offers 55 undergraduate degree programs and 19 graduate programs. The university can trace its history to 1839, with the founding of what eventually became known as the Bloomsburg Literary Institute. It became a normal school in 1869 and a university in 1983, upon the creation of the State System.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, enrolling more than 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.