John Fair Stoddard, Principal 1855-1856.
Dr. Stoddard served as principal of the Lancaster County Normal School for less than a year, leaving soon after the institute became permanent. He was the author of a number of textbooks, primarily in the field of mathematics; and an education entrepreneur, founding the Susquehanna Company Normal School and attempting to revive the University of Western Pennsylvania, and a principal of public schools in Pennsylvania, New York State, and New York City;
James P. Wickersham, Principal 1856-1866.
Dr. Wickersham was a founder of the Pennsylvania State Teachers Association, an early president of the National Education Association, the first superintendent of common schools of Lancaster County, and the director of the Lancaster County Teachers’ Institute. The institute was begun in 1853 and moved into the academy building in Millersville in 1855. Under his direction, the institute became the first state normal school in Pennsylvania, and he was also responsible for the development of the curriculum that served as a model for other normal schools in the state. He left Millersville to become State Superintendent of Common Schools and later served as President’s Arthur’s Envoy to Denmark. He died in 1891. Heirs of Dr. J.P. Wickersham present his pedagogical library in 1892;
Edward Brooks, Principal 1866-1883.
Dr. Brooks was one of the original members of the faculty at the institute. He was a prolific writer of textbooks, primarily in mathematics, and was active in numerous professional organizations, including the National Education Association. Resigning because of ill health, he recovered and eight years later was elected superintendent of schools of Philadelphia. He died in June 1912.
Benjamin Franklin Shaub, Principal 1883-1887.
Dr. Shaub was the first Millersville graduate and the first person of German background to serve as Principal. He was an honor graduate, a Mennonite and a former superintendent of Lancaster County common schools. His appointment was made over the objections of students and faculty, and he resigned to enter the carpet business in Lancaster.
Eliphalet Oram Lyte, Principal 1887-1912.
Dr. Lyte entered the normal school in 1866 after serving in the Civil War and teaching for two years. He became a professor of rhetoric and bookkeeping in 1868 and later a professor of pedagogy and grammar before being named principal in 1887. His 44-year association with the school ended with his resignation because of ill health, and he died a few months later. He is credited with the first building boom at Millersville, designing and directing the construction of the Science Building (since removed), the Library (now Biemesderfer Executive Center), and the Gymnasium (now Dutcher Hall. He oversaw construction the Model School, formerly Myers Hall and now Charles and Mary Hash Building, and several additions to Old Main. He also was a prolific writer of music, including the famous round, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
Peter Monroe Harbold, Principal 1912-1918.
Dr. Harbold joined the faculty briefly as a professor of history and then left to obtain degrees from F. & M. and Harvard. He returned as head of the Model School in 1905, became superintendent of Lancaster County public schools in 1911, and returned once more as principal in 1912. He resigned in 1919 after a policy dispute with the Board of Trustees concerning the hiring of a faculty member. He became a member of the faculty of F. & M.
Charles H. Gordinier, Principal/President 1918-1929.
Dr. Gordinier enjoyed an active career in higher education before coming to Millersville and was the first principal to hold an earned doctorate. He was a Latin professor at Shippensburg State Normal School, dean of Kee Mar College in Hagerstown, MD, and chairman of the English Department at Shippensburg prior to replacing the popular A. R. Byerly as professor of classical languages at Millersville in 1911. His title of principal was changed to president when the normal school became a state teachers’ college. Following his retirement at the voluntary retirement age, he became head of the education program at Beckley College in Harrisburg and later the manager of the Central Teachers’ Agency in Harrisburg.
Landis Tanger, President 1929-1943.
Dr. Tanger served a school principal and superintendent in districts throughout Pennsylvania after his graduation from Millersville in 1898 and before his appointment as president of the state college in 1929. He presided over heroic attempts to save this and other schools from being closed during the Great Depression and the early years of World War II. He retired in 1943 but continued to be active in the community.
D. Luke Biemesderfer, President 1943-1965.
Dr. Biemesderfer graduated from F. & M. Academy in 1912, from Millersville State Normal School in 1917, and from F. & M. College in 1921. He served as a teacher and principal in schools of several Pennsylvania districts, including Manor-Millersville, before being named president. During his tenure the college struggled through the student shortage of World War II, the student surplus of the post-war years, and the declining enrollments and state appropriations in the 1950’s. During his years liberal arts and graduate studies were added to the curriculum, and the auditorium-dormitory complex on the north campus was constructed. Also, land was secured for the east campus now comprising dormitories, classroom buildings, dining hall, and student center.
Robert A. Christie, President 1965-1968.
Dr. Christie held several posts in higher education, including assistant president of Hofstra University, prior to his appointment at Millersville. He actively promoted the liberal arts and oversaw the start of the development of the east campus and other areas of the college grounds including Ganser Library, McComsey Hall, Breidenstine Hall, Biemesderfer Stadium, Gordinier Dining Hall, dormitory complex, and other buildings. He resigned under pressure from the Board of Trustees and became vice-president of the University of Bridgeport, CT. He and his family were killed in a plane crash in Central America. Dr. Christie and Dr. Stoddard were the only principals/presidents having no prior association with Millersville before assuming the chief executive office.
William H. Duncan, President 1968-1981.
Dr. Duncan, like E. O. Lyte, centered his career at Millersville, enjoying a 46-year association with the college. He came to Millersville in 1935, completed his two-year course in 1936, and taught in Strasburg while meeting the requirements for a bachelor’s degree at Millersville (granted in 1940). After several years teaching, serving in World War II, and earning a master’s degree at Penn State University, he returned to Millersville in 1947 as a social studies teaches in the laboratory junior high school. He subsequently left the classroom except for occasional part-time service to devote his time to administrative duties. He held such positions as the director of admissions, registrar, acting dean of instruction, and dean of student affairs prior to his appointment as president. He oversaw the continuing building boom of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the decline of state appropriations in the 1970’s, the change of emphasis from teacher training to liberal arts, and burgeoning enrollments.
Joseph A. Caputo, President 1981-2003.
Dr. Caputo held several posts in higher education, including vice president for academic affairs at Southwest Texas State University, prior to his appointment at Millersville. During his tenure, there were significant changes in the academic program, management structure, student life opportunities and campus infrastructure. Dr. Caputo, Dr. Christie and Dr. Stoddard were the only principals/presidents having no prior association with Millersville before assuming the chief executive office.
Francine G. McNairy, President 2003-2013
Dr. McNairy began her career at Millersville University as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs before becoming President in 2003. Prior to coming to Millersville, she was the associate provost at West Chester University. She served as acting President at Millersville University in the Fall of 1997 while Dr. Caputo was on sabbatical leave. She announced her retirement in January 2012, which became effective in January 2013.
John M. Anderson, President, 2013-
On April 1, 2013, Dr. John M. Anderson became the 14th president of Millersville University of Pennsylvania, following the retirement of Francine G. McNairy. Prior to coming to Millersville he was President of Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y.