Thursday, June 17, 2021

Celebrating Juneteenth 2021

This Juneteenth, as we celebrate the significance of this historic day marking the end of slavery in the United States, may we also take a moment to reflect on the past year in our nation’s history. Since the senseless killing of George Floyd, we have witnessed an awakening of the ongoing need for our country to look inward, find our flaws and blemishes, and work to correct them through constructive dialogue and with a collaborative spirit and growth mindset. 

Here at BU, we will continue to strive for racial equality and justice for all. During our town halls for the BU community last summer and fall, we acknowledged that our campus is no different from many cities and communities across this country in that we have much work ahead of us in the areas of equity and inclusion. Thanks to the leadership of the co-chairs of our President’s Commission for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Shavonne Shorter and Ms. Maddy Rodriguez, we have held many training sessions and engaging discussions for faculty, staff, and students over the course of the past academic year.

While we as a campus community have made progress, we have more work to do and more progress to make. As we celebrate Juneteenth, let’s take some time to think about how we can make a difference as individuals to support our students, colleagues, and neighbors as we continue to build more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming communities at BU and across this great country. 

    Bashar W. Hanna, President


Friday, May 14, 2021

Congratulations, Huskies!


Dear BU Class of 2021,

This weekend I'm elated that you and your families will be able to conclude the academic year with an in-person commencement ceremony, the 152nd spring commencement in our institution’s history. We are proud of your patience and perseverance over the past year as the pandemic has altered our lives in so many ways.

I also want to express my gratitude to our faculty and staff, who taught, guided, mentored, and counseled you during your years here at BU. This weekend, we all delight in celebrating with you.

As you move into your next phase of life, my challenge to you is simple. Wake up every morning with one goal in mind – to face life’s challenges and make a positive impact in the life of another so that our future is a better place than it is today.

Now, more than ever, our world needs compassion, empathy, and leadership. My wish for you is to develop and maintain a growth mindset and contribute to your respective communities in meaningful ways. Don’t be afraid to challenge what you see and hear as you continue to learn and grow. Be courageous. Make your voices heard and make a difference in the lives of others. Be leaders. Stay engaged. Be Huskies.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of you! May you and your loved ones continue to remain safe and healthy, and remember you’ll always have a home here at Bloomsburg University.
Onward! 

    Bashar W. Hanna, President


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Women’s History Month

I couldn’t let March fly by without paying homage to the women who have shaped my life.

First, my mother, who passed away at the age of 84, one week after my inauguration as president of Bloomsburg University. Mom epitomized selflessness, she sacrificed more for my father, sisters, and me than any one person should. The gifts of empathy, sincerity, and above all selflessness that I carry with me today are possible only because of her.

My six sisters, without whose support nothing would be possible. The courage and reassurance they provide allow me to carry on and persevere regardless of circumstances. I lean on them more than a sibling should. Without exception, they have always been there. 

Our lives have been colored with highs – weddings, births, high school and college graduations, Ph.D. conferral – and our share of lows – cancer X4 (which took mom away), strokes, heart attacks, death (dad in 2011 and mom in 2018). Through all the highs and more importantly, the lows, the seven of us had and will continue to have each other.

My college and Ph.D. mentor, Dr. Nina Hillman – who saw something in me that I never saw in myself. I am grateful to her every day for not giving up on me and guiding me through my undergraduate and doctoral years.

My life partner, Deanna whom God guided into my life while we were undergraduates at Temple University. She has been and continues to be – my rock, my best friend, my patient partner and an insightful sounding board. Without her, NOTHING would be possible.

Last and certainly, not least, I have the honor and privilege of being Lauren’s father. She has taught me more about life and the world than she will ever know.

In closing, I honor the legacy and life lessons learned from these strong women by being empathetic, altruistic and to serve with a servant-leadership mentality.

Sincerely, 

        Bashar W. Hanna, President


Monday, March 22, 2021

Servant Leadership at BU

It’s often said that servant leaders put others before themselves. This statement epitomizes the leadership team at Bloomsburg University. At a time when we are stretched beyond reason, a simple challenge led to servant leadership in practice.

Two years ago, I proposed an idea to my 30+ colleagues who are members of BU’s Leadership Council (my direct reports and their direct reports): that each of us mentor between one and three students who were academically at risk.

Through the end of the Fall 2020 semester, we have now mentored 157 total students. As important as the intervention provided for our most valuable stakeholders (our students) are the lessons learned by my colleagues and me. It’s fair to say that each of us has learned far more from our student-mentees than we had anticipated.

The endless challenges that our students face — exacerbated by a global pandemic — are both heartbreaking and tear-provoking. The experience of hearing our students’ stories has made us more empathetic and altruistic, and perhaps most importantly it has galvanized us to remain steadfast in our commitment to transforming the life of every student.

History may remember us by the outcome of our efforts — let’s double down on making sure our efforts lead to better futures for our students, especially our most vulnerable.

Sincerely, 

        Bashar W. Hanna, President


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Celebrating Black History Month – and Striving to Become a Better BU

While our nation has grappled with a global pandemic for most of the past year, we have also focused on the challenges of racial inequity and racism in our country, prompted in large part by the wrongful killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests nationwide last spring. 

As we have acknowledged at our town halls for the BU community since last summer, our campus is no different from many communities across this country in that we have work to do in the areas of equity and inclusion. 

While we are proud of the events we have hosted for many years and the ongoing training sessions and programs we have instituted recently, we continue to strive to do more to develop a more welcoming, more inclusive and safer environment for all members of the BU community. As we celebrate Black History month and strive to become a better BU, I would like to highlight a few upcoming events this month that will feature speakers who will both challenge and inspire us:

An Evening Conversation on Equity, Inclusion, and Becoming a Better BU

This conversation will take place on Tuesday, February. 16, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom. It will be moderated by BU’s own Dr. Shavonne Shorter (Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and will feature Mr. Chad Dion Lassiter, a national expert on race relations and the executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). It will be my honor to take part in this discussion.

Lessons from the Later Dr. King

On Wednesday, February 17, at 6 p.m. we will welcome Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Presenting via Zoom, Professor Glaude will examine a period in Dr. King’s life that is not always highlighted: his later years, a time in which he was doubtful and felt that the country had turned its back on him.

Black in America

Finally, speaking of the late George Floyd, on Wednesday, February 24 at 6 p.m., we will welcome family members of Mr. Floyd as part of the keynote address at the annual Sankofa Conference (join via Zoom). The topic will be a conversation with Nyle Fort and George Floyd’s aunt and uncle, who will provide you a personal glimpse of the George Floyd they knew and loved. Fort is a minister, activist, and writer and the co-founder of The Maroon Project, an activist incubator based in Newark, NJ, that works with students, organizers and residents on issues of social justice.

I am grateful to all my colleagues who are members of our University’s President’s Commission for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and especially thank Dr. Shavonne Shorter and Ms. Maddy Rodriguez (co-chairs of the Commission) for their leadership. I also thank our guest speakers for sharing their wisdom and expertise with the BU Family. I hope you will plan to join these powerful conversations, as well as others planned for the coming weeks. For a complete list of BU’s events this month and the links to access them, please visit bloomu.edu/black-history-month.
 

Sincerely, 

        Bashar W. Hanna, President


Monday, January 18, 2021

Bloomsburg University to begin disaffiliation with certain FSL organizations

Bloomsburg University will begin an immediate disaffiliation with four recognized Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) system student organizations that have continued violations of previously announced reforms.

 

The disaffiliation will be effective the beginning of the spring 2021 semester. It will continue for a period no less than five years, through at least the fall semester of 2025, when the disaffiliation may be revisited for effectiveness and overall interest in the University’s desire or opportunity to expand the FSL community.

This action is being taken due to an overall non-compliance to University standards for student and organizational behavior and the defiance of the University’s zero-tolerance policy.

The safety and welfare of our students is our highest priority. Our focus remains on creating a safe, educational environment where all students can succeed and thrive.

This is a critically important and necessary step to improving the culture of Fraternity and Sorority Life at BU. It is our goal to foster a safe and positive fraternal experience and to help preserve the legacy and reputation of these organizations.

    Sincerely, 

        Bashar W. Hanna, President


Friday, December 18, 2020

Happy Holidays

Dear BU Family,

With the Fall 2020 semester behind us, I wanted to take this opportunity to say Thank You to all our students, faculty, and staff for a safe and successful fall semester.

2020 has been a year like no other. But as we Huskies do, we have worked together and persevered with grit and determination. We have supported one another in and out of the classroom, and also those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In short, our Husky spirit has kept us moving forward despite the challenges this year has brought us. And I am beyond grateful to all of you for your efforts.

To our students, thank you for your patience and understanding this semester, and for adhering to our health and safety requirements. 

As we continue to prioritize the safety of the entire BU Family and prepare for next semester, I look forward to welcoming you back to campus on February 1st. And we will be sharing more details regarding the Spring 2021 semester after the holidays. Please stay tuned to our website and your inbox.

To our faculty and staff, thanks as well for your patience, for your willingness to adapt and innovate in support of our students and their success, and for going above and beyond this entire year.

With the holidays now upon us, I wish all of you, and your families, peace, joy, and good health throughout this holiday season. As you celebrate with family – in likely smaller gatherings than in years past – please continue to be safe. This pandemic continues to affect communities across our country, so it is critical that we continue to do all that we can to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities as safe as possible.

My very best wishes to all of you and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Go Huskies!

    Sincerely, 

    Bashar W. Hanna, President