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Lycoming College recognized co-curricular student achievement on campus during its seventh annual Leadership and Service Awards Banquet on April 10.
The Seuren Leadership Speaker Series address was given by Lycoming President Dr. James Douthat, who discussed the role of luck in leadership and how many great leaders start out as followers who learn from a leader’s mistakes. Andrea Seuren, a 1976 Lycoming graduate, established the speaker series in 2007 in memory of her parents. The series' purpose is to build a culture of leadership at the College that espouses service, ethics and critical thinking.
Douthat will retire as the 14th president of the College in June after 24 years of service. During his tenure, Lycoming's academic profile was raised to that of a national liberal arts and sciences college. Today, Lycoming is consistently ranked as one of the nation's best colleges by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes.com and The Princeton Review.
Douthat told the audience that great leaders ensure that the next generation is taken care of. "Good lessons can be learned from not-so-good leaders, but great leaders learn from others' mistakes," he said. "Followers who become leaders are good observers."
Douthat discussed leadership among former presidents such as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, but said that historians often cite lesser-known James Polk as one of the greatest presidents. "Time will work to define great leaders," he said. "These presidents share connections as leaders: they did what's best for the country rather than what was popular."
Luck also plays a role in a leader's success, Douthat said, but only for those with a trained mind who are willing to take advantage of it. "Leadership and learning are indispensable, as Kennedy said."
He then switched from the success of political leadership to leaders in a community – volunteers. "Serving as campaign chair for the United Way confirmed that success is attainable only when legions of volunteers come together," Douthat said. "There will always be more charitable causes than you can volunteer for, but you volunteer anyway." He said voluntary leadership done well is a tough job that one does for the reward of helping others.
Award winners were Woody Rittmiller, intramural male athlete of the year; Emily Mixel, intramural female athlete of the year; Jack Port, intrafraternity council spirit award; Casey Manion, intrafraternity council service award; Kevin Morrow, intrafraternity council scholar award; Christine Gillogly, Panhellenic council spirit award; Anna Rittmiller, Panhellenic council scholar award; Cody Giles, intrafraternity council man of the year; Meghan Cox, Panhellenic council woman of the year; Elizabeth Greenaway, sorority adviser of the year; Alpha Xi Delta, chapter of the year; Multicultural Awareness Group, outstanding program of the year; Brittany Tasch, student organization adviser of the year; Lycoming chapter of Advancing Communities by Educating and Serving, student organization of the year; Mike Kane, outstanding student leader and volunteer of the year; LACES alternative spring break, outstanding community service program award; Colleges Against Cancer - Relay For Life, outstanding community service fundraising event award; and Habitat for Humanity, outstanding community service organization award. Natalie Johnson, Stephanie Bowen and Andrea Eagle also were recognized as senior community service scholars.
Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit www.lycoming.edu.