Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education selected Dr. Bashar Hanna to serve as interim president of Lock Haven University, starting Feb. 5.
Hanna succeeds President Robert Pignatello, who is joining the Office of the Chancellor as senior advisor for integration strategy, focusing on workforce development and short-term credentials.
“I am humbled to have been selected as Interim President of Lock Haven University by the State System’s Board of Governors,” Hanna said. “They have put their faith in me to lead Lock Haven into the future. With student success as our guiding light, we will continue to fulfill the university’s mission. Now more than ever, our region’s students need access to an exemplary, affordable education. The work we are doing together to support the northeast integration will expand access to LHU’s premier academic programs for students across the Commonwealth and beyond.”
Hanna will continue to serve as president of Bloomsburg University, a position he’s held since 2017. He has extensive experience with the State System, including time served at Kutztown University as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and interim provost from 2005 to 2009.
Hanna also leads the team overseeing the proposed integration of three universities – Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield – into a single accredited entity with three distinct campuses.
“Dr. Hanna has proven himself to be a student-focused leader driven by a passion for public higher education,” Chancellor, Dan Greenstein said. “The expertise and heart he brings to the university is also present in the work underway on integrations. We are excelling toward the goals of bolstering student success and expanding opportunities at these three campuses thanks in large part to Dr. Hanna's leadership.”
“Dr. Hanna’s expertise has guided Bloomsburg and the entire integrations effort with great skill and with a sharp focus on student success,” Board chair, Cindy Shapira said. “He has our full confidence as a leader of two campuses and as someone who can bring constituencies together in the common purpose of quality, affordable public higher education.”
Among Hanna’s accomplishments at Bloomsburg include improving student retention by 5 percent in just two years, doubling the Bloomsburg Foundation’s endowment growth to $60 million, and establishing the President’s Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“On behalf of the Bloomsburg University Council of Trustees, I congratulate President Hanna on this additional appointment,” said Judge Mary Jane Bowes, chair of the Bloomsburg Council of Trustees. “Since Dr. Hanna began guiding BU in 2017, we have been grateful for his visionary leadership and keen focus on student success, and particularly for his expertise during the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current integration discussions with Lock Haven and Mansfield Universities. I have every confidence that Dr. Hanna is the right leader for Bloomsburg, and am certain that his collaborative approach and strong leaderships skills will be equally as effective at Lock Haven.”
Hanna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology, a master’s degree in developmental biology, and a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from Temple University in Philadelphia.
In addition to his experience at Kutztown, Hanna worked as associate dean of the College of Science and Technology at Temple University before becoming chief academic officer and dean of academic affairs for DeVry University.
At Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa., from 2011 to 2016, Hanna served as vice president for academic affairs. Before his time at Delaware Valley, he also worked as associate provost at Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y.
“The Lock Haven University trustees and I look forward to welcoming Dr. Hanna into
the Lock Haven family,” Daniel Elby, chair of the Lock Haven Council of Trustees,
said. “Dr. Hanna has a strong history of championing student success throughout his
career. As the leader of the northeast integration, he is uniquely situated to shepherd
Lock Haven University into its next, exciting chapter.”
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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.
LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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