On Friday, April 27, Bashar Hanna, PhD., was inaugurated as the 19th President of Bloomsburg University. A Syrian immigrant who was unable to speak English in the 5th grade, Dr. Hanna called his selection “a tremendous honor, and a huge responsibility.” Announced to succeed David Soltz, PhD., in July of last year, Hanna was joined by family, community members, faculty, staff, and colleagues from institutions across the northeast for the ceremony.
Hanna spoke about the 180 year evolution of the institution, which began as the Bloomsburg Academy on 3rd and Jefferson Streets, to a University that now serves students from 27 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Examples of current academic excellence include a pass rate on the PA State Board of Accountants CPA exam that ranks 3rd in the state for students in the Zeigler College of Business, and a near perfect record for nursing students on the nursing licensure exam, with only one student failing to pass the exam in the past decade. Dr. Hanna noted that the $62 million fundraising campaign completed last year will “continue to transform this institution and our students and their families for decades to come.”
Despite the successes of Bloomsburg University, Hanna recognized challenges facing higher education, which include student expectations, state funding, and accountability, among other factors. He acknowledged lasting success will require change, and expressed confidence that Bloomsburg will remain a “beacon on the hill.” “With my pack of Huskies by my side…” said Hanna, “we will be prepared for every challenge to transform the lives of the students who are the future of our country, and of our world.”