Since its founding, 16 presidents and four acting presidents have served Bucknell. Under their leadership, Bucknell has grown from a "Literary Institution and Female High School" to a University of more than 3,500 undergraduate and 100 graduate students and more than 350 full-time, tenure-line faculty.
Significant achievements mark the growth of Bucknell – from modest origins to its stature as one of the top national liberal arts institutions offering more than 50 majors and 60 minors in its two colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering.
The 40 years from 1890 until 1930 showed a steady increase in the number of faculty members and students. When the Depression brought a drop in enrollment in 1933, several members of the faculty were "loaned" to found a new institution: Bucknell Junior College in Wilkes-Barre. Today, that institution is a four-year university, Wilkes University, independent of Bucknell since 1947.