1974-1980: Robert Lisensky

Robert Lisensky

Dr. Robert Lisensky was born on December 5, 1928. He received a BA from West Virginia Wesleyan College, as well as a PhD from Boston University and an STB (Bachelors of Sacred Theology) from the latter institution’s School of Theology. Before being appointed to Willamette University’s presidency, Lisensky served variously as a Methodist pastor, a professor of sociology, and as an academic administrator, but considered himself foremost an educator. Lisensky was confronted with some interesting “controversies” during his tenure including: students questioning the campus alcohol policy; the future of Willamette’s Greek system with Greeks and “anti-Greeks” at odds with one another; the replacement of the letter grades “D” and “F” with “NP” and “W” in the grading system; and an inadequate library with out-of-date materials and extreme temperatures. During his interview, Lisensky had told the search committee that “the president should resign after about seven years” and true to his word, in early 1980, he announced he would resign effective August 1, 1980. Stating that his years at Willamette had been personally gratifying “the resignation [was] the necessary first step for a career change.”