Past Presidents

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George P. Bible (1893-1902)

  • One of the founders and first principal of East Stroudsburg State Normal School, enjoyed a regional reputation as educator, lecturer, journalist, and author–talents he put to good use as principal.
  • Bible attended Shippensburg State Normal School and Pennsylvania State College before receiving his bachelor's degree from the National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia.
  • Bible later obtained graduate degrees at Bucknell and Clark Universities.
  • Bible is best known for working side-by-side with Seeley Rosenkrans, a prominent East Stroudsburg figure and businessman, and Reverend Chandler Oakes, pastor of the East Stroudsburg Presbyterian Church, in opening ESSN, the first Normal School in Monroe County.

Dr. Ellwood L. Kemp (1902-1920)

  • Dr. Ellwood L. Kemp, one of the founders and second principal of East Stroudsburg State Normal School, was a hardworking puritan and an ordained minister.
  • Kemp earned his bachelors degree at Franklin & Marshall and later was awarded an honorary doctoral degree, making him the only ESSN principal to hold such a title.
  • Kemp headed ESSN longer than any other principal until his retirement in 1920.

Frank E. Baker (1920-1923)

  • Frank E. Baker, East Stroudsburg State Normal School's third principal, established the health and physical education program and started the process to move the school to a collegiate institution during his brief but productive term.
  • Baker was a dynamic, vigouous, yet democratic figure whose leadership was to have an impact on the institution for decades to come.
  • Baker graduated from Clarion State Normal School at the age of sixteen.
  • Baker traveled to Allegheny College where he received his B.A. followed by his M.A. at Harvard University.
  • His tenure as president, although brief, was important to the expansion of academic fields at ESSN.

Tracy T. Allen (1923-1939)

  • Tracy T. Allen, East Stroudsburg State Normal School's fourth principal, and first president, was an effective administrator who put newly named East Stroudsburg State Teachers College (ESSTC) in the front rank of the new state teachers colleges both academically and in size.
  • Allen received his B.A. from Allegheny College and his M.A. from Columbia University.
  • Allen was also the first president to earn his doctorate, receiving it from New York University in 1934.
  • Allen is most known for creating and utilizing a strong and competent faculty by hiring individuals with advanced degrees.
  • By the end of his tenure eleven faculty members had doctorates, more than any other state teachers college except for Mansfield.

Joseph F. Noonan (1940-1955)

  • Joseph F. Noonan, the successor to Tracy T. Allen, was East Stroudsburg State Teachers College second president.
  • Noonan was a strong–willed president that led ESSTC through its most trying era.
  • World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the influx of GI Bill veterans created novel problems of adjustment.
  • The Noonan era was not one of great change but of survival and the pursuit of normality.
  • The times needed toughness and Dr. Noonan was the right man for the job.

Theodor Moore (acting president 1955-1956)

  • He was acting president for almost a year, about the same length of service in that capacity as Eric Schaar.
  • Theodore Moore, English Department professor and formerly headmaster of Germantown Academy and head of the English Department at College of William and Mary replaced Dr. Charles Naegle as Dean of instruction in 1952 upon Dr. Naegle’s retirement.
  • He was chosen by the Trustees to become the acting president of East Stroudsburg State Teachers College on September 29, 1955.
  • He vacated that position after Leroy J. Koehler’s selection as president of the college in June 1956, was deposed from his former position as Dean of instruction and appointed to the new post of director of admissions.
  • He died at his desk in the admissions office in January 1969.

LeRoy J. Koehler (1956-1968)

  • LeRoy J. Koehler is best understood as the product of a small-town Victorian environment.
  • Born in 1896, Koehler briefly left Monroe County's West End to attend Penn State College for his B.A. (1918), and the University of Pennsylvania for his M.A. (1921).
  • He returned to Monroe County in 1922 to teach at East Stroudsburg State Normal School and never left again.
  • Koehler was known as a very loose administator who ended the rigid supervision of faculty members, and supported a strengthening of faculty tenure.
  • Koelher had the misfortune of being president when the college entered its modern era.
  • To the end, Koehler wanted the college to remain small–a school whose president could personally know all the students.
  • The rapid growth of education and further funding by Harrisburg thrust ESSTC into the modern era.

Frank Sills (1968-1971)

  • Frank Sills, former chairman of the Health and Physical Education Program became the fourth president of East Stroudsburg State College in 1968.
  • Sills attended Penn State University where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in Physical Education.
  • Sills then traveled to the University of Iowa where he earned his Ph.D.
  • The Sills era at ESSC, although brief, was generally constructive, laying the foundation for the next two decades.
  • Although hindered by the sociopolitical themes that defined the era, Sills managed to expand the university and dramatically increase enrollement.

Darrell Holmes (1971-1979)

  • Darrell Holmes, known as one of the best administrators in school history became the fifth president at East Stroudsburg State College in 1971.
  • Holmes had grandiose plans for ESSC, believing that more was better: more buildings, more students, more programs.
  • Holmes was also subject to the sociopolitical themes still lingering from the Vietnam War, but Holmes' administration stayed strong by upholding the traditional values of the college.
  • An ongoing fued with the faculty led to Holmes' early retirement in 1979, but many remember Holmes as a strong and influential leader.

Eric Schaar (interim president 1979-1980)

  • Eric Schaar, the interim president during the 1979-1980 academic year, was the sixth president at East Stroudsburg State College.
  • Schaar assumed the presidency at ESSC after years of turmoil between the faculty and former president Darrell Homes.
  • His interim presidency, although brief, did have its upside. Schaar's administration was able to create the resort management program (since renamed "Hospitality Management").
  • To get away from the chaos, Dr. Schaar relaxed by immersing himself with his first love, music.
  • Shaar could be found playing his cello late into the day.

Dennis Bell (1980-1986)

  • Dennis Bell, a combat veteran of World War II and graduate from Ohio State University became the next permanent president at East Stroudsburg State College.
  • Bell was known for using his social skills to political ends. Bell and his wife, Carnetta, held breakfasts for local politicians and clergymen, for faculty, and for administrators.
  • One of Bell's greatest accomplishments was obtaining full accredidation for the nursing program, and overseeing the transformation of East Stroudsburg State College into East Stroudsburg University.

James E. Gilbert (1987-1996)

  • James E. Gilbert, a Connecticut native, majored in psychology at the University of New Mexico, then pursued his doctoral degree at American University where he graduated in 1969.
  • Gilbert was an active promoter of diversity at East Stroudsburg, appointing many women to administrative positions.
  • Gilbert's administration is best known for enhancing the academic program, supporting scholarly activity, improving community relations, addressing the needs of the physical plant, implementing external support programs, and establishing the first Parents' Association.

Robert J. Dillman (1997-2012)

  • Dr. Robert J. Dillman initiated several academic enrichment programs designed to promote student success, including: the establishment of 15 new degree programs in 10 years; the incorporation of smart classrooms and computer technology in the curriculum; the development of reciprocal relationships with other universities nationally and internationally; and, the institution of the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory, an affiliate of East Stroudsburg University, which provides students with an opportunity to combine field and laboratory research and internship opportunities.
  • During Dr. Dillman’s tenure, a number of major campus projects were completed, including the renovation of Liljenstein-Zimbar Hall, renovation of Eiler-Martin Stadium, the renovation of the Reibman Administration Building, the renovation of the DeNike Center for Human Services, and construction of the university’s Mattioli Recreation Center, the construction of the Henry A. Ahnert, Jr. Alumni Center, the construction of the Warren E. ’55 and Sandra Hoeffner Science and Technology Center, the construction of the ESU Innovation Center, the construction of new student housing suites, and, the approval to proceed with the new Keystone Center (completion date 2018).
  • Dr. Dillman spearheaded East Stroudsburg University’s involvement with the Marine Science Consortium Center to include a partnership with NASA’s new Wallops Island Flight Facility. Under Dr. Dillman’s leadership East Stroudsburg University became the lead MSC member among seven sister PASSHE universities.
  • Dr. Dillman inspired and lead East Stroudsburg University’s first comprehensive capital campaign, “Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality,” which concluded with funds totaling more than $21.5 million.
  • Dr. Robert J. Dillman initiated several annual programs to highlight the accomplishments of the East Stroudsburg University faculty including the University Authors Reception and the Distinguished Professors Award. Dr. Dillman also established the annual Legislative Fellow program at East Stroudsburg University.