Dr. Francis B. Haas 1927-1939

Francis Buchman Haas was born June 6, 1884 and raised in Philadelphia, graduating from Central High School in 1904. He received a bachelor of Science degree from Temple University, master's from the University of Pennsylvania in 1922 and Doctor of Pedagogy from Temple in 1925. He taught in the Philadelphia public school system for 15 years until being appointed the assistant director of the Teachers Bureau of the Department of Public Instruction in Harrisburg in 1920. After several advancements he was appointed to the position of Pennsylvania State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1926.

On April 11, 1927 Dr. Haas was elected principal of the Bloomsburg State Teachers College. In the first few years of his term he oversaw the naming of Carver, Waller, and Noetling Halls; the first official Homecoming Day at Bloomsburg on November 17, 1928; and the completion of the Ben Franklin Training School and college laundry in 1930.

Dr. Haas at his desk in March, 1939

In the spring of 1929 Dr. Haas became BSTC's first president when the title of principal was changed to that of president.  In 1930 the Department of Commerce was started under Harvey Andruss with a four-year course in commercial teaching. The spring of 1935 saw the first class to have every graduate receive a degree, and that summer Dr. Haas succeeded in having the State Council of Education grant BSTC the right to establish special education courses.

The physical nature of the campus changed dramatically for the first time in forty years during the 1930s. The new athletic field was built above North Hall, and renovations made to the gym and other existing buildings. Numerous construction projects began in 1938, including Navy Hall, Centennial Gymnasium, the storage building, and an enlargement of the heating plant.

The last great achievement of Dr. Haas' tenure was the Centennial celebration in May 1939 that marked the 100th anniversary of the institution that had become the Bloomsburg State Teachers College. He layed the groundwork for the celebration and helped to make it a very memorable event. Three months later in August 1939 he was reappointed State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and his time at Bloomsburg came to an end.

Dr. Haas remained superintendant until his retirement in 1954, ending nearly 50 years of educational service to the state. He lived in Harrisburg until his death at the age of 81 on February 28, 1966.

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