2014 Lycoming College Spring Magazine - page 9

Plato’s “Allegory of theCave”
illustrates the idea of truth seeking that
is at the core of Lycoming’smission.
At the beginning of the allegory, we are
introduced to prisonerswho are confined
and shackled in a subterranean cave.
Unable to view objects directly, they
mistake shadows as representations of
reality. They cannot perceive the essence
of shapes. They draw conclusions
about theworld that are shaped by
preconceived notions rather than reason.
As the allegory unfolds, however,
one prisoner has the good fortune to
be liberated from the cave. Initially his
eyes cannot adjust to the bright sunlight,
and he is confused by the change in his
surroundings. Gradually, however, he
begins to perceive things clearly. He
discerns connections among things. He
acquires knowledge.
At the end of the allegory, Plato
explains itsmeaning through the voice of
Socrates: “It is our dream… to… travel
into the region of the knownwhere the
last thing to be seen and hardly seen, is
the authentic source of truth and reason.”
LycomingCollege’s leaders have
evidenced a continuous commitment
to the pursuit of truth. The founder of
WilliamsportAcademy, theReverend
BenjaminCrever, defined its fundamental
purpose as inspiring students to seek
truth. President Long charged the
graduating class of 1928 to reflect upon
theGreekword for truth thatwas and still
remains on the institutional seal.
At a symposium held during the
inauguration of PresidentWertz, Robert
Ewing, one of the intellectual leaders
of the faculty, spoke eloquently about
the role of the liberal arts college in the
cultivation ofwisdom. Ewing argued:
“If the experience of living is to be
worthwhile, manmust acquire in
someway a sense of life’s possible
significance… hemust take due
account of the insights acquired by the
generations that have preceded him
and thewisdom distilled from their
The curriculum is the primarymeans
bywhich a liberal arts college nurtures
in its students both the desire to discover
truth and an appreciation ofwisdom
inherited from the past.With this in
mind, aswemove forward, wemust give
priority to implementing the significant
revisions of the curriculum that the
faculty recently approved. In particular,
wemust ensure thatwe put in place
universal first-year seminars, sustain
the distribution requirements and create
more enhanced academic experiences
such as internships, study abroad, student
“WithKent, it’s not about him. It’s about the students, the
faculty, the professional staff, the trustees, the alumni andWilliamsport.
He is ambitious for all of you. But underneath this amiable persona lies theheart of a ferocious
competitor.Apersonwho likes to advance, apersonwho likes towinandwho likes tomakemeaningful
change. I would submit to you that given the competitiveenvironment for liberal arts colleges inAmerica
today, youwant andmust have that kindof leader.”
President, Drexel University
researchwith faculty and community-
based learning. Toward this end, I am
pleased to announce that our Strategic
Planwill call for the creation of aCenter
for EnhancedAcademicExperiences.
ThisCenterwill play a pivotal role in
howLycoming delivers afirst-rate 21st
century liberal arts education.
The leadership of the college has
also understood that place constitutes
an integral component of themodel of
education thatwe offer. Presidents and
trustees have partnered tobring our
residential campus to life. They have
envisioned and constructed a campus
landscape and academic facilities that
support ourmission.
The perspicacity and generosity of
our trustees continues. In July, wewill
break ground on a new science building
and planetarium. Today, I am delighted
More than 600 people attendedPresident Trachte’s inauguration in theRecreationCenter, whichwas
beautifully transformed for the event.
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