Past Presidents

Edward O. Sisson

1. Edward O. Sisson [1897-1904], first director of Bradley Polytechnic Institute. (Before there were Bradley presidents, the top office on the Hilltop was director.) He had founded the South Side Academy in Chicago, which became affiliated with the University of Chicago.



Dr. Theodore C. Burgess

2. Dr. Theodore C. Burgess, director of BPI [1904-1920] and president [1920-1925], was a strong believer in need-based scholarships for superior students. He added evening classes, vocational classes, and the college of music. Dr. Charles T. Wyckoff served as interim president for six months after Dr. Burgess died of a heart attack.



Dr. Frederic R. Hamilton

3. Dr. Frederic R. Hamilton [1925-46] guided Bradley through the Depression and World War II. Constance Hall women’s dormitory was built during his tenure, and the “Famous Five” basketball team reigned.



Dr. David B. Owen

4. Dr. David B. Owen ’29 [1946-52] had been Bradley’s public relations director. In 1946, Bradley Polytechnic Institute became Bradley University. The size and quality of the faculty were increased. Many GIs earned degrees during his tenure. Bradley’s graduate program was added. The Field House, Library, Burgess, and Sisson were constructed.



Dr. Harold P. Rodes

5. Dr. Harold P. Rodes [1954-1960] focused on three “F’s” — facilities, faculties, and funds. New buildings included the Student Center, Lovelace, Baker, Jobst, and Wyckoff. Rodes also raised scholastic requirements. He resigned at age 40 to become president of General Motors Institute.



Dr. Talman Van Arsdale Jr.

6. Dr. Talman Van Arsdale Jr. [1961-1970] Bradley Hall was destroyed by fire in January 1963, and rededicated in October 1964. Heitz, the Bradley Bookstore, Swords, University Hall, and Olin were built under his watch. He was elected president of the Association of Urban Universities in 1964.



Dr. Martin G. “Jerry” Abegg

7. Dr. Martin G. “Jerry” Abegg ’47 HON ’93 [1970-1992] is credited with putting Bradley on the right path after campus unrest and financial difficulties. Related stories, including more photos and video, are in the summer 2010 issue of Bradley Hilltopics.



Dr. John Brazil

8. Dr. John Brazil [1992-1999] oversaw the construction of the Caterpillar Global Communications Center and Bradley’s $100 million Centennial Campaign. He left to become president of Trinity University in San Antonio, and GARY ANNA ’75 served as interim president.



Dr. David Broski

9. Dr. David Broski [2000-2007] was chancellor at U of I, Chicago, before leading Bradley. Active in the community, he worked on improving the Main Street corridor from BU to downtown. He was president of Peoria NEXT innovation center, and began implementing a master plan for Bradley’s growth, extending campus to the west.



Joanne K. Glasser

10. Joanne K. Glasser, Esq. [2007-2015] Glasser became Bradley’s tenth president and the first woman to hold the position in 2007. She oversaw the development of new academic programs, rising national rankings, and $128 million in construction projects, including the Renaissance Coliseum, the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, and the renovation and expansion of Westlake Hall. She championed student engagement and success.



Gary R. Roberts

11. Gary R. Roberts ’70, J.D. [2016-2020] returned to Bradley after becoming one of the country’s foremost experts in sports law. During his tenure, the university designed and implemented a new strategic plan, launched a faculty salary initiative, completed the new Business and Engineering Convergence Center and expanded its suite of online course offerings, among many additional accomplishments.