B Y J E R R Y R A S H I D
ent Trachte loves to compete. With that comes
a relentless drive and determination to succeed
in all that he does. And if his past achievements are
any indication, Lycoming College’s future under
his presidency will be eventful and exciting.
Trachte’s competitive spirit was
nurtured in De Pere, Wis., a small town just outside Green Bay.
His father, James, was a social studies teacher and also served
as the boys’ basketball coach at De Pere High School. He
later became school principal and eventually was promoted to
“My mother would always say, ‘Your father has a very public
role, so don’t embarrass us,’” Trachte said.
And he did not disappoint.
Like many teenagers, he loved playing sports. Trachte
became the starting quarterback in football and played both
guard and forward in basketball. He remembers admiring Bart
Starr, the legendary quarterback who led the Green Bay Packers
to multiple NFL championships, including Super Bowls I and II.
Trachte also has a passion for the game of golf. His dad
introduced him to the game at age 11, and he has played
continuously for 40 years, including on his high school and
An engaged student, Trachte found time to quench his ever-
growing thirst for knowledge by giving extemporaneous
speeches as a member of De Pere’s forensics team. His articulate
performances earned him trips to the state competition.
“During that part of my life [high school], I lived in a
fishbowl,” Trachte said. “I became accustomed to a life where
they were not many boundaries between public and private life.
I understood that my actions would be scrutinized. Growing up
this way helped to prepare me for the public roles that I have
held in academia.”
As a high school sophomore, Trachte was introduced to
the idea of attending an Ivy League institution by his biology
teacher, who also was his football coach. But growing up in a
small town in the Midwest, he admits that he knew very little
about the Ivy League and its stellar academic reputations. He
had assumed he’d enroll in a small college close to home.
As time passed, however, “My good friend, Mike Stickney,
who happened to be the center on the football team, and I both
developed an interest in the Ivy League. We came to appreciate
what it might mean to attend an Ivy League institution,” he said.
“The summer between my junior and senior years, my father
took the two of us on a road trip. We visited Cornell, Dartmouth
and Princeton. Ultimately, I decided to apply to all three of
them and decided to attend Dartmouth. Through my combined
interest in athletics and academics, that door opened up for me.”
And he proudly walked right through. He majored in
government and spent two seasons on the men’s golf team.
Trachte says his interest in studying politics began as a teenager.
In high school, he was captivated by Wisconsin’s 1968 primary
election. President Lyndon B. Johnson had decided to forgo
reelection, and the frontrunners included Hubert Humphrey,
Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.
LYCOMING COLLEGE 2013 SUMMER MAGAZINE
Prior to his appointment at Lycoming, President
Trachte spent 25 years as a senior administrator
at Franklin & Marshall College.