Page 7 - 2012 Lycoming Summer Magazine

a complete range of services, including
counseling, training and software tech-
nologies, to more than 1 million federal
employees and retirees.
Whatever success I may have at-
tained I attribute to what I learned from
my mother, my wife, my military service,
my Lycoming College education and my
GAO employment,” Lynn said.
The Lynns have five grandchildren,
ranging in age from 5 to 17, and now
spend their time in both Naples, Fla., and
Laporte, Pa. Their sprawling homestead
in Northeast Pennsylvania’s scenic End-
less Mountains Region is just 45 minutes
from campus. It’s the perfect location for
Lynn to stay readily connected with his
alma mater and also lead the board as it
continually plans for the College’s future,
which includes hiring a president for the
first time in nearly a quarter century.
Dr. James Douthat has served
as Lycoming’s president for
the last 23 years. What comes
to mind when you think about
what he has accomplished at
the College?
While a great many things have been
accomplished under President Douthat’s
leadership, perhaps his two most sig-
nificant achievements concern the Col-
lege’s endowment and national ranking.
Because of his prudent management of
operational costs, financial discipline,
two very successful capital campaigns
and investments, the size of the Col-
lege’s endowment has increased more
than six-fold. This translates to having an
endowment per student of approximately
$125,000 – which is far greater than most
all of our peer colleges.
In terms of status, Lycoming is ranked
by
U.S. News & World Report
as a Tier 1
higher education institution, and as one of
the top select small, liberal arts colleges
in the U.S.
Among the many ways you
and Joyce support Lycoming is
through endowed scholarships
and capital projects such as
the Joyce Lynn House at The
Commons. What prompted
you to support the College?
On a macro basis, my wife and I
strongly believe education, not just in this
country but in all countries, is essential
in providing for the greatest potential for
resolving world problems.
On a micro basis, we simply want to
give back to the institution that has been
significantly responsible for the overall
quality of our lives and the lives of our
children and in some small way assist
others to begin on a similar road. There’s
no question that, for most students, at-
taining a higher education is very expen-
sive, and we are dedicated to providing
financial assistance to hopefully make it a
more affordable proposition.
How can other Lycoming
alumni engage and support
their alma mater?
Alumni can support Lycoming in a
number of very important ways. A prima-
ry way is financially. It is a well-known
fact that the cost of a higher education
continues to increase while the level
of available financial aid is decreasing.
Endowing scholarships and contributing
annually to the Lycoming Fund are the
two frontline means of support.
Another is to assist in establishing
internships. Student internships provide
significant opportunities for gaining
experience in a chosen field and in a
working environment.
Perhaps the simplest way to provide
support is to be a ‘marketing representa-
tive’ for the College by spreading the
word that it’s one of the finest small, lib-
eral arts colleges in the country, and don’t
keep its light hidden under a basket.
What are the College’s top pri-
orities during the next five to
10
years?
In terms of its plant and facilities, last
year the board and administration adopted
a long-term master plan for the campus. It
identifies improvements and additions the
College needs to consider in order to have
the best-in-class facilities to support the
College’s mission, academic programs and
residential experience. In addition to the
renovation of many of the College’s exist-
ing facilities, the plan includes two major
construction projects – a new student
union center and a multiuse planetarium
facility. With respect to the latter, new
developments in technology called ‘full
dome video’ make it possible to use plan-
etarium space for much more than physics
and astronomy.
Academically, the College must focus
on and consider what changes may be
needed to enhance curriculums offered and
ways in which to better prepare students
for life after graduation. One of my partic-
ular areas of interest is seeing an increase
in internship opportunities for students.
Internships are very important because
they allow students to apply what they
have learned in the classroom. Students
not only benefit from the opportunity to
experience ‘life in the real world,’ but
perhaps most importantly the opportunity
to experience working in their endeavored
field.
What does the future hold for
private, residential liberal arts
colleges such as Lycoming?
I’m afraid the financial future is bleak
for many private liberal arts colleges and
consequently, many will be forced to
close. Due to ever increasing operational
costs and decreasing student financial aid,
these colleges have to draw down their
endowments to fund current operations at
an increasing rate. Lycoming is extremely
fortunate. During the last 20 some years,
President Douthat and the board of trustees
together have brought the College a long
way, but we can’t rest on our laurels. How-
ever, to help assure long-term survival, the
College must continually strive to manage
operating costs, increase the endowment
and find more ways to make obtaining a
higher education degree affordable.
I firmly believe in the value of higher
education – not just in terms of providing
for a greater potential for monetary gain,
but also in terms of its potential to provide
a higher quality of life for all.
I firmly believe
in the value
of higher education–
not just in terms of
providing for
a greater potential
for monetary gain,
but also in terms
of its potential to
provide a higher
quality of life for all.
7