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Lycoming College welcomed 16 student-athletes and four coaches from Japan to campus on Aug. 22.
The student group consisted of teenage baseball and softball players, eight male and eight female, each of whom was affected by the March earthquake and tsunami. They are participating in the U.S. Department of State's first international sports exchange program. During their two-week stay in the Unites States that began with a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., they are scheduled to participate in baseball and softball clinics, see a professional baseball game in Baltimore and attend the Little League Baseball World Series.
"The lives of the students and the teachers have been forever changed since March 11," said Chiaki Kotori, a native of Japan and director of institutional research at Lycoming, who coordinated the group's visit to the College. "A number of offices and individuals responded and showed their embracing hearts, which I think the group will long remember. It was our privilege to meet them, interact with them, and learn first-hand about their courageous efforts to rebuild their own lives and the nation."
At Lycoming, the students and coaches, accompanied by members of the State Department, were welcomed by Lycoming College President James Douthat and other College officials, received a tour of campus, enjoyed lunch, visited the campus store and participated in a question-and-answer session with Lycoming students about the College and American higher education.
Founded in 1812 and celebrating its bicentennial during the 2011-12 academic year, Lycoming College is a national liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. It offers 35 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News and World Report. Located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.