2014 Lycoming College Spring Magazine - page 17

What initiallyattractedyou to
LycomingCollege?
Similar to themany students, faculty
and staff,mywife, Gail, and Iwere
attracted toLycoming by the beauty of the
campus and thewarmth of the community.
Iwas particularly intrigued by Jim
Douthat, afirst-year, first-time president
whowas visionary, yet practical;worldly,
yet down to earth; calculating, yetwilling
to take risks. I think hewould agree that
the college had farmore going for itself
than it recognized, and if everyone
pitched in, we could recruitmore students,
build the endowment and enhancemorale.
We created afive-year plan and by year
four, thanks to the hardwork of trustees,
faculty and staff, we had achieved all of
our objectives.
Howhas the recruitmentand
admissionsprocesschangedsince
yourarrival?
In the early ’90s, collegeswere in
charge of recruitment; they dictatedwhen
mailingswould go out, when students
shouldvisit, when they should apply
andwhen theywould receivefinancial
awards. Now students and parents are in
charge of everything. From their living
rooms, they can tour the college, check
out programs, calculate their likelihood
of being admitted and get an estimate
of their actual bill by completing the
cost calculator. Theweb has helped us
attractmore students nationally and
internationally, but it has alsomade
itmore challenging for schools like
Lycoming that depend on building one-
on-one relationshipswith prospective
students and parents.
Is thereanythingyou’d like toshare
aboutyouradmissions teamover
theyears?
The admissions team has included 75
different admission counselors and 15
staffmembers. I’m particularly proud
of thosewho have continued in higher
education. Rita (Ciurlino)Detwiler ’84,
LynchburgCollege; JeremySpencer ’95,
FraminghamState; SteveSchierloh,
CentenaryCollege; andChipEdmonds
’98, LycomingCollege, are vice
presidents at their respective institutions;
andKarin (Plummer) Botto ’93, St
Joseph’sUniversity; JoeBalduino ’04,
PennCollege; and JasonMoran ’04,
LycomingCollege, serve as directors. I’ve
also been blessed by loyal and talented
administrative assistants: BarbCarlin,
executive secretary extraordinaire;Mary
Dahlgren, data information specialist; and
BeckyMiller, financial aid secretary, who
werewithme all ofmy 25 years.
In regards to staff, two particular days
stand out, for very different reasons.
OnMarch 28, 1999,AliceHeaps, our
associate director, died very unexpectedly.
Shewas an excellent colleague, wife and
mother of two children. Her family and
the admissions staff keeps her legacy
alive through our annual contribution to a
scholarship fund named in hermemory.
OnDec. 29, 2008, I saw JimLakis
workingon a painting project in the
LamadeGym. Jimworked forme as
financial aid director from 1992-96, but
left to start several businesses, including a
painting contractingfirm. I complained to
Jim that wewere having difficultyfilling
the director of financial aid position. Later
that afternoon, he called to ask if Iwould
once again consider him for the position.
Oneweek later, he traded in hiswhite
painter’s pants for awhite shirt and tie.
We even treated him to his old desk and
chair.
Are thereanyachievementsyou’re
particularly fondof?
Two classes stand out tome in
particular.Academically, theClass of
1994was one of the strongest to attend
Lycoming. Today, its graduates are
prominent doctors, lawyers, scientists,
educators, engineers, leaders in
government, business persons and
entrepreneurs. Two came back to
Lycoming: JeffBennett, vice president of
finance and administration, andMelanie
(Harris)Taormina, foundation relations
officer.
TheClass of 2013was special to
me because it included students from
Vietnam, who I referred to as theFab
Five.Allwere outgoing, talented and
academically excellent. The following
year, theywere joined by two transfer
students and theFabFive became the
DreamTeam. Now all graduates, they
areworking inmultinational firms or
attending excellent graduate schools in
theU.S. andGreat Britain.
In 1989, therewere three international
students attendingLycoming; today
we have 57 students from13 different
countries. In 1989, two percent of our
freshman classwas represented by ethnic
minorities; today that number ismore
than 17 percent.
What liesahead for
LycomingCollege?
Itwas a privilege and honor to spend
somany yearsworkingwith JimDouthat.
I admire him immensely. Twenty-four
years is a long time to serve as the leader
of any organization, and therewere some
tough calls tomake along theway. He
handled them allwith style and grace and
grewLycoming’s endowment to a level
that assures future generations the same
quality of education as students now
receive.
Kent Trachtewas the clear choice to
succeed JimDouthat as president. He
is intelligent, vibrant, hardworking and
has immense energy. OnKent’s first day,
wemet regarding some thoughts he had
about recruitment andwithinweeks, we
were plotting a stronger international
student recruitment initiative and an
initiative to attract high-achieving
students from several inner-city, urban-
access charter school systems. Both
initiatives have brought excitement
to the faculty and staff andwill have
an immediate impact on new student
enrollment.
I’ve had a blast the past 25 years, but
it’s time tomove over and let someone
else come inwith new intelligence and
new ideas. I’llmiss the faculty and
students andworkingwith this very
capable admission andfinancial aid
staff.And, I have a feeling Iwill be
missing out on all of the excitement that
lies ahead for LycomingwithPresident
Trachte at the helm.
“IhaveafeelingIwillbe
missingoutonallofthe
excitementthat liesahead
forLycomingwithPresident
Trachteatthehelm.”
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