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Board of Governors selects Dr. Bashar Hanna to be Lock Haven University's interim president

Contact: Dave Pidgeon, (717) 562-3418 or dpidgeon@passhe.edu

Will continue as president of​ Bloomsburg University
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today selected Dr. Bashar Hanna to serve as interim president of Lock Haven University, starting Feb. 5, 2021.

Hanna will continue to serve as president of Bloomsburg University, a position he’s held since 2017. And 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 a team overseeing the proposed integration of three universities – Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield – into a single accredited entity with three distinct campuses.

“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.” 

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.

"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."

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 Superior Court Judge Mary Jane Bowes, chair of the university’s trustees council. “Since Dr. Hanna began guiding B.U. 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 leader of the Northeast Integration, he is uniquely situated to shepherd Lock Haven University into its next, exciting chapter.”

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 93,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities of Pennsylvania.