President Kent Trachte
As I begin my third year in office, I remain optimistic and excited about the college and its future. We continue to innovate and improve the already exceptional educational experience offered at Lycoming. We are investing in a renewal of the physical infrastructure and creating new opportunities for students and faculty.
Due to the generosity of Trustee Peter ’69 and Joyce Lynn, the Lynn Science Center was opened in time for the fall semester. Its architecture includes traditional neo-Georgian features as well as modern elements; and it houses the Detwiler Planetarium--a digital learning center that will become central to the delivery of the curriculum. The building brings all our science departments into the same contiguous building. In the Lynn Science Center, the past meets the future.
Students are also thrilled with the recently completed renovation of Wesley Hall, the third residence hall to be extensively remodeled since July 2013. Wesley Hall is now home to intellectual affinity communities where students and faculty engage in the exploration of ideas beyond the formal classroom doors. Its contemporary design includes a seminar room, suites with private bathrooms, and community kitchens and lounges on each floor.
A centerpiece of our strategic plan is the focus on creating enhanced academic experiences. Every student will be expected to complete one of the following: a collaborative research experience with faculty, study abroad, an internship, or a course that includes community-based learning. During the past year, we received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to fund faculty-student research collaboration in the humanities, and Trustee Emeritus Art Haberberger ’59 and his spouse Joanne have invested in two programs to support student research, Haberberger Research Scholars and Haberberger Fellows. We are also expanding international study opportunities, with our most recent additions being partnerships with universities in Mexico, Switzerland and China. In addition, the Williamsport Internship Summer Experience was expanded.
First-year seminars are now available to all incoming students. With enrollment limited to 18 students, the writing intensive courses prepare students to engage the full curriculum. Faculty members teaching the courses become mentors to their students and build on community engaged with ideas.
We continue to build a student body that reflects the full mosaic of the population of the United States and draws students from around the world. The Class of 2019 is the most diverse in the college’s history as 26 percent are students of color and another 5 percent are international students from 14 different countries. While Pennsylvania remains the leading source of students, 47 percent of the student body now comes from outside our home state. In addition, the college continues its tradition of offering opportunity to all students as 29 percent of the class is first generation and 45 percent are Pell Eligible.
We are also moving forward on the points of distinction identified in the strategic plan. Our nationally recognized archaeology program is expanding by adding a track in Latin American. Led by Professor Jonathan Williamson, we are taking preliminary steps toward the Center for Energy and the Future. An endowed gift has made it possible for us to plan for the future of the highly regarded Clean Water Institute.
Our strategic initiatives in enrollment management are also paying dividends. Leadership development has also emerged as a focus. Gifts are financing a pilot program in outdoor education, and the Lycoming Fund will underwrite the cost of a new leadership program in athletics and the Gettysburg Battlefield leadership experience.
Philanthropic leadership has also made possible some recent investments in the fine arts. During this past summer, we remodeled the theatre design studio and opened a digital piano lab, designed for group, individual and pair instruction. The Lycoming Fund helps to support the cost of operating our art gallery in downtown Williamsport.
Finally, I would like to thank our students, faculty, alumni and friends who are creating a culture of innovation at Lycoming College that is driving us toward greater excellence.
Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D.