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Bloomsburg University Names New President

BLOOMSBURG -- Bloomsburg University had a lot to celebrate. The school named its 19th president and students are excited for the new leadership.

Eight months after Bloomsburg University President David Soltz announced his retirement, the school introduced Dr. Bashar Hanna to faculty and students Monday. Hanna will take over as president of the school in July.

"Excited is the understatement of the century. I'm elated, nervous, humbled, honored to serve this wonderful institution," Hanna said.

Dr. Hanna was born in Syria and graduated from Temple University. He is the former vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown. Dr. Hanna tells Newswatch 16 he is looking forward to getting to know the students and faculty and has a plan for his first six months on the job.

"Meet, learn, listen and get a sense of where people's passion is and then articulate a vision together so it's a shared vision," Hanna explained.

Students tell Newswatch 16 they're happy to hear the new president plans to take the time to sit and talk with them.

"That's definitely good leadership showing, coming down and meeting everyone day one. That really makes it nice," said sophomore Jonathan Schmerfeld.

Students told Newswatch 16 some concerns they plan to address with Dr. Hanna.

"I really hope someone could change the red light out here just so people are safer trying to get into the school," sophomore Krysta Hower said.

"I'm hoping for smaller class sizes, the student-teacher ratio," Schmerfeld added.

Hanna understands there are challenges facing higher education, but this is his passion.

"I think it's going to be the engine by which the commonwealth and all 50 states move forward and create the next generation of leaders," Hanna said.