Building named after former LHU President Willis

Pics show Willis seated and talking to former Chancellor James McCormick. Crowd shots of congrats, pics of present LHU president and Willis, and a shot of Willis listening to the LHU alumni Choir singing “Danny Boy”

LOCK HAVEN -In an auditorium crowded with friends, family members, colleagues and professionals, former Lock Haven University President Craig Dean Willis accepted a new honor bestowed upon him for his many years of services to the university and community.

In a brief ceremony, the Lock Haven University’s Council of Trustees re-named Health Professions Building as the “Willis Health Professions Center.”

Situated on Railroad Street, this building currently houses the university’s Health Sciences and Physician Assistant programs, and is the home of the Greenberg Auditorium, where the ceremony took place.

Dr. Willis served as president of Lock Haven State College and Lock Haven University from July 24, 1982 through July 31, 2004, retiring with President Emeritus status.

Among the dignitaries on hand to watch him receive the honor were State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, former chancellor of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education James McCormick, LHU President Dr. Michael Fiorentino Jr., many of members of the trustees council, a large number of educators in many fields, and a sizeable contingent from Dr. Willis’s own family, including his wife, Marilyn and eight grandchildren.

Craig and Marilyn celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary Sunday, so the dedication ceremony served as a double blessing for the family.

Dr. Willis’s accomplishments were noted by trustee Guy Graham.

During his tenure, enrollment doubled, Graham said, and the budget of the university grew from $15 million to nearly $60 million, creating an increase in the economic impact of the university on the surrounding communities from $9.5 million to $50 million.

Dr. Willis also was instrumental in increasing the size of the landscape of Lock Haven University, with the number of buildings built or acquired increasing from 24 to 48, and 55 campus renovation projects.

President Willis is also considered one of the founders of the university’s Clearfield Branch Campus which provides higher education opportunities to that part of the region.

There was an increase of 20 undergraduate programs and the introduction of four new graduate degree programs during the 22 years served by Dr. Willis.

For the rest of the story, see today’s print edition of The Express.