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t age 8, while growing up in

Stamford, Conn., Sharon

Trachte’s parents enrolled

her in a French conversa-

tion class. She immedi-

ately fell in love with

the language and has been captivated by

all things French ever since.

This past May marked the 14th

consecutive year Sharon and President

Trachte have vacationed in the quaint,

picturesque village of Montresor, France.

It’s a special place for both of them. But

for Sharon, it has a little extra meaning.

“When you carve out a life like that

in a small village each summer, you just

have to go back,” she said. “We don’t

think of vacationing in any other place. It

helps us reconnect. There are intellectual

and linguistic interests for both of us. We

read, study and take notes. We actually

immerse ourselves in the culture


“The language to this day blows me

away. It’s beautiful, it’s musical. The

French are very poetic in the way that

they express themselves. Even as a kid, I

heard about French wine, French fashion

and cultural things, but what absolutely

hooked me and what keeps me going is

the language.”

During the last 26 years, Trachte had

the pleasure of sharing her love of the

language with students at Elizabethtown

College, where she recently retired as as-

sociate professor of French. Her research

interests supported her teaching – con-

necting cognition, brain research and

second language acquisition to improve

student learning.

As Trachte settles into her role as

Lycoming’s newest first lady, she fully

anticipates being involved in as many

facets of the campus as possible. As one

would assume, she plans to attend various

events with the president, but don’t ex-

pect them to be seen together all the time.

“I believe in double-teaming,” she

said. “That means that I am going to

attend functions and establish my own

relationship with this campus apart from

Kent. I want to get to know the students;

I want to get to know the faculty. I’m

going to be very independent.”

With an interest in creating menus,

cooking and the dining experience,

Trachte is planning to host many intimate

luncheons and dinners at the President’s

House. Her hope is to coordinate gath-

erings that will feature a combination

of students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Everyone will be encouraged to converse,

have fun and enjoy one another’s com-

pany. But her guests should not expect to

partake in an extravagant French meal.

“I’m more interested in replicating the

structure of the French meal and pro-

viding the pleasure factor that the French

believe that you should get whenever they

cook and serve a meal,” she said.

Trachte also is excited about

immersing herself within the

Williamsport community.

“I want to be a study-buddy for first

graders; I want to be involved in the

schools,” she said. “I would like to take my

teaching background, my research

interests in reading and how learners

learn, and work with younger kids. There

are so many kids today who, by the time

they get to the fourth grade, are not at

reading level. Most importantly, I want

to help them learn how to dream. Maybe

a part of their dream will be to attend


She earned a bachelor’s degree from

Muskingum College and then pursued a

master’s at the University of Kentucky,

which is where the Trachtes met. Together,

they attended Binghamton University, and

she earned a Ph.D. in French literature.

Sharon and Kent have been married

37 years and have one son, Kenyon. He

graduated from Franklin & Marshall

College in 2003 and earned a juris doctor

from the Dickinson Law School in 2006.

Kenyon and his wife, Lucille, a paralegal,

work together at the Trachte Law Office

in Newburgh, N.Y., which was founded by

Paul Trachte, Kent’s brother.