Gary A. Sojka
Doctor Of Science
Gary A. Sojka has received recognition for his contributions to higher education as a teacher, research scholar, faculty mentor and administrator.
But his first love is teaching.
Dr. Sojka proved that in 1995, returning to the classroom at Bucknell University on a full-time basis after serving for 11 years as president of that institution, located in Lewisburg, Pa.
Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Dr. Sojka earned his bachelors degree from Coe College in Iowa in 1962. He then came to Purdue University and earned his masters in microbiology in 1965 and a doctorate in genetics in 1967.
After graduate school, he joined the faculty at Indiana University as a research assistant and eventually became a professor and chairman of the biology department and then served three years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Sojka was named Bucknells 13th president in 1984. During his 11-year tenure, he stressed the importance of all students being literate in the sciences so they could make informed decisions in a complex world of technology and science a vision he carried back to the classroom in 1995.
Dr. Sojka believes a liberal education is the most valuable preparation young people can receive in an era of rapid and unpredictable change. Bucknell is a private university with a national reputation for being highly selective. It combines a liberal arts curriculum with professional programs in engineering, business, music and education.
During Dr. Sojkas presidency, Bucknell funded a capital building program that raised $90 million, which resulted in construction of almost half of the current square footage of facility space on campus. Meanwhile, the endowment fund grew from $53 million to $142 million. His administration also improved the student-faculty ratio from 15:1 to 13:1, developed a strategic plan, set an effective cost containment program and devised new curriculum plans for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering.
Dr. Sojka, who was a football player as an undergraduate and was named to the Coe College Athletic Hall of Fame, also took special pride in the fact that Bucknell ranked near the top of the NCAA in graduation rates for its student-athletes. He currently serves as Bucknells academic representative to the NCAA.
Dr. Sojka also served as a member of the NCAA President's Commission and was interim president of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities in 1997-98.