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During a school mock debate, Trachte

played the role of Kennedy.

“I remember being very fascinated

with the Kennedys as leaders and

political figures,” Trachte said. “I went to

Dartmouth with an inclination to study

politics, but this interest was confirmed

when I took a comparative politics course

with professor Henry Ehrmann, who, at

that time, was recognized as one of the

two or three leading experts in French

politics in the U.S. The way that he

introduced different political systems,

philosophies of governance and democra-

cy theory absolutely captivated me.”

When Trachte graduated from

Dartmouth in 1973, it was a contentious

time in American politics. Among his

memories is the incident at Kent State,

where, on May 4, 1970, members of

the Ohio National Guard opened fire on

unarmed students who were protesting

against the Vietnam War and America’s

invasion of Cambodia.

“That spring, many college campuses

across the country suspended the regular

conduct of classes,” said Trachte, who

was a member of Dartmouth’s student

government. “Many college presidents

endorsed statements calling for the end

of the war in Vietnam. Because I was

interested in politics, I attended events

and became engaged in the national

debate. The national politics of the period

were very much a part of my Dartmouth


Trachte followed his undergraduate

degree with a master’s in international

relations from the University of Kentucky

in 1975 and a Ph.D. in political science

from Binghamton University in 1981. He

then embarked on a nine-year teaching

career that led him to Clark and Long

Island universities and Gettysburg


A helping hand

Trachte is quick to recognize that there

have been many individuals, including

his father and Ehrmann, who have played

a role in shaping his academic career

path. He also points to professor Maurice

(Mickey) East, who taught international

relations at Kentucky, and professor

Edward Weisband, who directed his

doctoral dissertation. During the second

year of Trachte’s master’s program, he

was invited by East to collaborate in

designing a new course in international

organizations. The experience went so

well that East invited Trachte to co-teach

the course with him.

“That was the first time that I had been

in a college classroom as the instructor,”

Trachte said. “I found it stimulating

and exciting. It was that experience

that informed my decision to go into

higher education and pursue my Ph.D.

in political science and become a faculty

member. Clearly, Mickey giving me

that opportunity was really a formative

moment for me.”

At Binghamton, Weisband became

Trachte’s mentor. They collaborated on

a paper on the Truman Doctrine that

extended work that Weisband had begun

in his book,

Word Politics


“Edward guided me into the world

of scholarly research, taught me how

to think holistically about international

politics and inspired me to excel as a

teacher. He was an extraordinary lecturer

and a brilliant scholar.”

He also acknowledges two

administrators from Franklin & Marshall

College, where he worked the last 25

years, including the last 10 as dean of the

college. Alice Drum, who is now vice

president of the college emerita, “took

a leap of faith,” he said, and hired him

for his first administrative post – dean of

freshmen. The other is former president

John Fry, who led F&M from 2002-10.

“John is the person who helped me

to understand how to lead an institution,

particularly lead an institution toward the

kind of change that makes a difference in

the quality of the educational experience

students receive and the kinds of students

and faculty you can attract. John showed

me how to lead an institution toward

‘transformational change.’”


As F&M’s dean of freshmen from

1988-91, Trachte says he had the

privilege of working with faculty to

develop a first-year seminar program.

It involved reimagining how students

entered into the intellectual life of the

college and the study of the liberal arts.

“It grew into and has remained the

starting point for how students enter into

the life of the mind at F&M,” he said.

“The college is positioned

for us to move in a very

strategic and aggressive way

to advance the quality of

what is offered and achieve

recognition as one of the

finest liberal arts colleges in

this country. ”

Full name:

Kent Charles Trachte


De Pere, Wis.


• Ph.D., political science,

Binghamton University, 1981

• M.A., international relations,

University of Kentucky, 1975

• B.A., government,

Dartmouth College, 1973

Previous positions:

Franklin & Marshall College

• Dean of the college, 2003-13

• Associate provost and dean for

educational services, 2000-03

• Associate vice president and dean of

freshmen, 1991-2000

• Dean of freshmen, 1988-91

Gettysburg College

• Visiting associate professor,

political science, 1987-88

Long Island University

• Associate professor, political

science, 1986-87

Clark University

• Director of international relations

program, 1980-86

• Assistant professor, government,



He and his wife, Sharon, who earned

a Ph.D. in French literature from

Binghamton University, have been

married for 37 years. She recently

retired as an associate professor of

French literature at Elizabethtown

College, where she taught for 26

years. Their family includes son,

Kenyon, and his wife, Lucille.