Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

News and Updates to Lycoming Community

Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may not attend class, and should instead remain in/return to their room or home and immediately contact Health Services by email at Students will then receive further evaluative instructions on notifying their professors and initiating remote instruction. Call 570.321.4052 during regular business hours for answers to specific questions or with additional needs.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions

  • Class of 2020 Commencement Update, 8/24/20

    Dear Members of the Class of 2020,

    We are writing to share the disappointing news that we are unable to hold a Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 this fall on the campus’s Fultz Quadrangle. We have weighed the pros and cons of going forward with the October commencement date, holding a more elaborate virtual ceremony, or having a May commencement. After careful consideration, along with input from other members of the Class of 2020, the class officers and administration feel the best way to have a celebration that represents the Class of 2020 is to hold commencement in May. We have decided instead to plan for a traditional ceremony on the weekend of May 15-16, 2021. We would hold two separate Commencement ceremonies that weekend — one for the Class of 2020 and a second one for the Class of 2021.

    This decision was difficult to make because we know that the Class of 2020 has already experienced multiple disappointments due to the pandemic. We do want to share the factors that entered into our decision. Most importantly, the State of Pennsylvania currently has in place a policy limiting the size of outdoor gatherings that would have precluded attendance by your families and friends — those people with whom you most want to celebrate. In addition, some members of the class would have been unable to attend because Pennsylvania also expects persons traveling internationally and from many other states to quarantine for 14 days. Finally, it simply seemed ill-advised to bring more than 2000 people to Williamsport at a time when infection rates in the United States have persisted at much higher levels than anticipated. We hope you understand why we felt that it was necessary to reschedule for May 2021.

    Please know that each of us as well as the trustees, faculty and staff remain committed to celebrating and recognizing the Class of 2020 at a time when it is safe to do so, and in a way that lives up to the highest of our shared expectations. We remain optimistic that the situation will improve by May and that we can share in the memories and traditions of Commencement for the Class of 2020.

    Should you have any questions, please contact Katie, Bryan, Ruric, Erin, or President Trachte.

    Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to being back in touch with updates and information.

    Katherine Arestad, President
    Bryan Manoo, Vice President
    Erin Emerick, Treasurer
    Ruric Bowman, Secretary
    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Learning Options Available at Lycoming College Fall 2020

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    In recent days, several individuals have inquired why Lycoming College is not offering a remote or online option for students during the fall semester. In addition, as some of you know, a petition on this subject has been started. I am writing now to clarify the College’s position regarding online and remote education.

    It is first important to understand that the terms “online” and “remote” are not synonyms. An online course is one where all aspects of instruction involve technology. Faculty construct syllabi, choose reading materials, homework assignments, testing instruments and configure daily learning taking into consideration that course delivery will be via technology. This type of course does not generally include any in-person instruction. It is typically taught either fully or significantly without expecting that all students and faculty engage at the same time.

    Lycoming College does not offer online courses. Most of our faculty are not trained in online teaching. Online education is not part of our mission and is not something for which we are accredited.

    In contrast to this online model of education, the College did conclude the 2020 Spring semester using remote interaction between faculty and students because it was necessitated by a state-mandated shutdown. The semester began with seven weeks of in-person residential classes. Students and faculty finished the semester with students able to complete their courses under a temporary policy expanding the conditions of the pass/fail grading option. Remote learning meant the adaptation of traditional teaching (course materials, assignments, testing and daily classwork) to learning from a distance using technology.

    I hope that this explanation helps in understanding the important differences between online and remote learning. Whereas online learning takes distance and technology as its point of departure, remote learning functions as a back-up for classic in-person instruction.

    Last spring’s experience reaffirmed for the Faculty, Trustees and me that more learning takes place when students are in residence. For that reason, the College has committed to the resumption of residential education this fall. We have worked very hard this summer to create a healthy environment by developing protocols designed to reduce the risk of transmission. We followed the guidance of the CDC and the PA Department of Education and consulted almost weekly with infectious disease experts. Our work has been informed by the science that now states that the transmission of COVID-19 can be controlled by following recommended practices, which include universal adoption of facemasks, socially distanced-class seating, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and strong personal hygiene.

    As one element of our extensive planning for the fall semester, a committee of 11 faculty members from a wide array of disciplines and four Academic Affairs administrators identified strategies and training for our faculty should the College experience another state-mandated shutdown that would interrupt the fall semester. This faculty committee adopted the terminology remote-ready to describe their approach.

    The committee’s work has helped equip the faculty to plan for three possible fall scenarios:

    1. an uninterrupted on-campus student experience as posted on the revised 2020-21 Academic Calendar;
    2. a semester that begins with an on-campus student experience on August 20th and is interrupted at some point during the semester with the result that the College transitions to a full remote experience; and
    3. a semester that begins on August 20th with a full remote experience and remains remote for the full duration of the semester.

    It is important to note that each of these scenarios requires different teaching techniques and course planning that cannot simultaneously be offered at one time. In creating remote-ready courses, the faculty will be able to successfully pivot to remote options, but they are preparing primarily for a semester of in-person instruction.

    In addition, all faculty members were given the option to teach up to one-third of their course(s) using remote strategies. In response a large majority chose to continue with plans for a fully in-person model. These individual decisions by each faculty member collectively affirm our identity and commitment as a residential institution of higher learning.

    In a few courses, students will find that faculty are utilizing a hybrid course model involving in-person and remote components. The plans for these courses have been reviewed by the academic leadership of the College and a committee of faculty. This process was put in place to ensure that the College maintains its commitment to high-quality education.

    As part of our risk reduction strategies for a healthy campus environment, classrooms have been equipped with remote-ready access that will allow for temporary participation by students and faculty. We have taken this step so that we can be responsive to individuals who may be temporarily unable to attend class. This temporary access is also a very different situation than semester-long remote attendance.

    The petition being circulated via social media notes that remote learning is being offered to students who qualify for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. That is correct. Congress extended the ADA during the pandemic to apply to individuals who have a health condition that places them at high risk of severe complications from a COVID-19 infection. As with all ADA accommodation requests, the College is following the relevant ADA law and making reasonable efforts to accommodate students and employees who have medically documented needs that meet the criteria defined by the ADA law.

    The College’s work to provide accommodations to qualifying students, however, is not relevant as part of an argument for offering remote participation to all students. By definition, accommodations available to a student who qualifies under ADA are not extended to all students. For example, students with learning differences are often accommodated with extended time for tests. Yet that accommodation is not granted to the other members of the course.

    Dean Meyer is working individually with students and faculty to identify course schedules that can support the full remote semester. Not all courses can support full-semester remote access, but the College has put in place a limited remote-ready capacity to provide reasonable ADA accommodations to the small number of faculty and students who qualify under the law.

    Finally, as students have contacted the College with concerns about returning to campus and asked about options, we have worked with them individually. In response to those requests, as the Registrar communicated this morning, we have now decided to waive for this semester a policy that normally limits the number of credits from online courses that can be transferred to Lycoming College. We have taken this step to offer a choice to those who are uncomfortable being part of in-person instruction. Returning students who wish to pursue this option should contact Dean Meyer. Entering first-year students should contact Dean Weymer.

    I hope that this communication clarifies Lycoming College’s decisions concerning instruction for the fall semester. I also invite you to review our detailed Return to Campus Plan located at:


    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Planning for Resumption of Residential Education

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    Members of the faculty and administration have spent many hours this summer planning for the resumption of residential education in the fall semester. The purpose of this work has been reimagining our residential campus so that we can resume in-person instruction in a manner that also prioritizes the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. Our plan has incorporated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). We have also benefitted from the expertise of Infectious Disease Services at UPMC located in Williamsport.

    The attached document represents a summary of the Lycoming College Plan for the Resumption of Residential Education. Each item is informed by guidance from the CDC and the PDE. Within the next few days, a much more detailed version of the Plan will be posted to the College’s website, but the attached document should provide you a good overview of how we will conduct ourselves as a community during the fall semester.

    As you prepare for your return to campus, I think you should know that Lycoming County has continued to have low rates of infection. From the beginnings of the pandemic in March through July 10, there have been a total of only 225 confirmed cases. As of the same date, 5,569 persons had been tested—most because of symptoms or suspected exposure to COVID-19, and only 4% had tested positive.

    Despite this comparatively safe environment, it will be vitally important that we all approach this fall semester committed to engaging in socially responsible behaviors. Research has now confirmed that wearing face coverings, physically distancing and practicing good hygiene significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Accordingly, the College will expect that all members of our campus community will commit to the Statement of Social Responsibility found on the final page of the attached document.

    This fall semester will require that we all adapt our normal behaviors in order to benefit from the highly impactful learning environment that is created when we gather together as a community. I remain confident that as Lycoming Warriors we are equal to the task, and I look forward to seeing all of you in late August.

    Best regards,

    President Trachte

    Attached: Lycoming College Plan For Resumption of Residential Education Summary — July 14, 2020

  • CARES ACT: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

    Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Reporting: Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students
    Lycoming College 30-Day Fund Report
    Posting Date: June 12, 2020


    Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”)), Pub. L. No. 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (March 27, 2020), directs institutions receiving funds under Section 18004 of the Act to submit (in a time and manner required by the Secretary) a report to the Secretary describing the use of funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”).

    On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education posted their reporting requirements for HEERF participating institutions.

    Each HEERF participating institution is responsible for providing this information in report format (the “30-day Fund Report”). In addition, these participating institutions are required to post the information listed below on the institution’s primary website. Accordingly, the following information will be easily accessible to the public and made available 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter. The college also confirms it has continued to pay all its employees and contractors during the period of any disruptions or closures to the greatest extent practicable.

    Lycoming College hereby addresses questions for the “30-day Fund Report”:

    1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

    Lycoming College Response: Lycoming College completed and submitted the Recipient Funding and Certification Agreement on Monday, April 27, 2020 assuring that 50% of the funds would be used as intended to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. The college received a total allocation of $1,392,658. The Board of Trustees approved the distribution methodology, which was then enacted by the President, Vice President for Finance & Administration, Controller and Bursar.

    2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

    Lycoming College Response: Lycoming College received $696,329 in funding to be distributed among its applicants.

    3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

    Lycoming College Response: As of June 12, 2020, the college has distributed $696,329 to students.

    4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    Lycoming College Response: The college estimates the number of students eligible to participate in the emergency grant program is 975.

    5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    Lycoming College Response: As of June 12, 2020, 969 students have been awarded an emergency Financial Aid Grant from the CARES Act.

    6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

    Lycoming College Response: Lycoming College made a distribution of Emergency Relief Grants to select students by check to assist with the disruption to their housing and food expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the guidance in the CARES Act, students who filed a FAFSA are eligible to receive Emergency Relief Grants. The amounts of these grants were based on an analysis of each student’s spring 2020 out-of-pocket commitment, with a maximum award amount of $850. The formula included approximately 400 higher financial need students who were awarded the maximum grant amount of $850. Data analyzed included tuition, mandatory fees, housing, and dining expenses, along with financial aid including grants and scholarships.

    7. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

    Lycoming College Response: A letter was included with the Emergency Financial Aid Grant checks noting the following:
    “Lycoming College has received funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The College is required to allocate these funds to students in order to provide emergency financial aid grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.)

    Enclosed please find a check for the CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant.

    By accepting this grant, you are confirming that these funds will be used for expenses incurred as they relate to the coronavirus pandemic.”

  • Message Regarding a Change in the Academic Calendar
    6/8/2020, 4:30 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    I trust that you and your families are looking forward to the summer months and the fall semester.

    A few weeks ago, I wrote to let you know that the College would be resuming residential education in the fall. I now want to share with you a significant adjustment in the 2020-21 academic calendar and ask that you begin planning accordingly. The changes have been adopted following the release of guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania encouraging colleges to consider an earlier beginning to the semester. The idea behind this change is to reduce the risk that could be created by having large numbers of students leave campus and return. You should also know that the change in the academic calendar is one of many measures that the College is implementing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and maintain a safe environment on campus.

    The new calendar is printed at the bottom of this page but I want to highlight several points.

    • The first day of classes has been changed to Thursday, August 20 (instead of August 31).
    • Classes or in-person instruction will end on Tuesday, November 24.
    • Long Weekend or fall break has been eliminated from the schedule.
    • Students will be able to complete final exams either at home or on campus. The Faculty has agreed that the College will not offer traditional in-classroom final exams during this fall semester.
    • Students will also have the option to remain on campus through the end of exams.
    • At this time, you should not make plans, including plane reservations, to go home for Thanksgiving and then return to campus for Reading Days and exams.

    The Class of 2024 will receive detailed information during the next couple weeks about the plans for your arrival on-campus, including Move-In. The process for returning students coming back to campus will also be different than in prior years. State guidelines recommend a phased repopulating of the campus and the use of screening measures. The specific schedule for returning to campus and related information will be communicated during the next couple weeks.

    The Department of Athletics will separately communicate its schedule for returning to campus and the process that will be used with student-athletes. We are awaiting additional guidance from the NCAA and the State of Pennsylvania, which will hopefully be available within the next several weeks.

    A complete adjusted fall academic calendar, including deadlines for policies such as dropping and adding courses, will be posted by the Registrar’s Office as a follow-up to this communication.

    We appreciate your patience and cooperation as the College continues to develop and finalize its protocols for a safe and responsible resumption of residential education.

    Best wishes,

    President Trachte

    Day Date Semester Activity
    Thursday August 20 Fall Classes Begin
    Friday October 16 Long Weekend Cancelled
    Tuesday November 24 Last Day of Classes – Last Day of Residential Experience
    Wednesday - Friday November 25 – 27 Thanksgiving Break
    Monday November 30 Reading Day
    Tuesday December 1 Reading Day
    Wednesday - Friday December 2 – 4 Administer Final Exams
    Monday - Tuesday December 7 – 8 Administer Final Exams, Continued
    Friday December 11 Final Fall Semester Grades Due
  • Message Regarding Resumption of Residential Education in Fall
    5/18/2020, 9:15 a.m.

    Dear Returning Students (and Parents),

    I hope that your family and you are well and that you have found ways to adapt successfully to the changed world in which we have all lived for the past two months. Now that the spring semester has come to an end, I wanted to share encouraging and positive news from a recent meeting of the Lycoming College Board of Trustees.

    Resumption of Residential Education in Fall 2020

    The Lycoming College Board of Trustees met recently and endorsed a recommendation to plan for the resumption of residential education in the fall in a way that is both safe and responsible. This decision was based upon several factors. First, Lycoming County never experienced a pandemic surge and has already moved into Pennsylvania’s “yellow” phase of reopening. Second, the College benefits from a close working relationship with the Williamsport-based regional center of UPMC—a truly world-class health system. Third, we believe that the nature of our curriculum and our small class sizes will make it easier to adapt to the safety and social distancing protocols that need to be put into place.

    Summer Planning

    I have established a task force on resuming residential education that will draw upon a broad array of resources to create a detailed plan. We will consider everything from how to repopulate campus to testing and tracing protocols, to ways of protecting those that have health conditions that leave them more vulnerable. We will work closely with UPMC and their infectious disease specialists. We will also monitor carefully changing guidelines from the federal, state and local governments. In short, we will work tirelessly to forge a fall experience filled with great learning opportunities in a safe environment.

    COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Fund

    Recognizing that many families face financial challenges caused by the pandemic and the economic shutdown, the Board of Trustees also made the decision to establish a Covid-19 Emergency Financial Aid Fund. We anticipate that a number of you and your families are concerned about whether you can afford to return to school. Where warranted, this new fund is intended to provide additional financial aid for 2020-21 and help students return to school. Therefore, if you have been financially impacted, we invite you to submit an appeal. You will hear shortly from financial aid about the process for taking this step.

    During the past two months, many of us have come to appreciate even more the privilege of being part of this community filled with meaningful relationships and a myriad of campus activities that enrich the curricular experience and create a truly dynamic and rich learning environment. We no longer take these things for granted, and we very much want to return to life as we knew it. While we know that some changes will be necessary, Lycoming College is committed to resuming residential education in the fall. We will be excited to welcome you back!

    Pres. Kent Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Refunds/Credits/Grants
    4/21/2020, 1:30 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    I am aware and can understand that many of you and your parents have been anxiously waiting for the refunds/credits/grants that one of my previous communications had announced were forthcoming for most students. I am writing today to explain why you have not yet received them and to ask for your continued patience.

    I want to reassure you that, if you left campus prior to April 15, you will receive a refund/credit/grant to reimburse you for what you paid for food, housing and certain fees for the final weeks of the semester. The College still plans for the Business Office to notify you of the amount that you will receive and offer you the option of getting your money back or applying the amount as a credit to your account for next semester. Even students who have remained on campus will receive a refund for certain fees, though not food and housing.

    In addition, I want to explain more about why it is taking so long to execute the College’s commitment. While I provide more detail in the next few paragraphs, the bottom line is that we are waiting for clear guidance from the U.S. Department of Education about how it plans to administer sections of the CARES Act that affect in important ways how we execute our commitment to you.

    First, you should know when the College’s Board of Trustees authorizes a significant expenditure, they require the administration to identify a funding source and explain the financial impact on the College. In this case, the Board was informed that the College expected to apply funds from the CARES Act to the refunds because that legislation states that federal funds designated for colleges can be used to provide “grants” to students for “disruptions” related to “cost of attendance, including food and housing.”

    Second, the text of the CARES Act also appeared to confirm that issuing “grants” related to “cost of attendance” (i.e. room and board refunds) would not adversely impact a student’s future eligibility for federal grants and loans or result in the need to return funds to the government.

    Third, the legislative language also seemed to assure us that providing students with a grant/refund/credit would not be interpreted as taxable income for students.

    As many of you may know, however, once legislation is written, a governmental agency, in this case the Department of Education, has both the authority and the responsibility to issue guidelines clarifying the intent of the legislation. In addition, the Department of Education is also tasked with establishing a mechanism to distribute funds to colleges and create the paperwork required to receive the funds. Because of the length and complexity of the CARES Act, the College’s administration was advised to wait for this guidance prior to moving forward.

    The Department of Education’s guidance on the intent of the CARES Act was only issued at the beginning of this week. While the guidance was clear with regard to the second item above (that refunds/credits/grants would not impact a student’s future aid eligibility), most colleges, including Lycoming, had additional questions with regard to the other matters detailed above. We have now been informed that the Department of Education will issue an FAQ at the beginning of next week.

    I am hopeful that this FAQ will provide clear guidance so that the College’s administration can be confident that the process we have designed internally will allow the College to access the federal funding that seems to have been allocated for this purpose and to issue the refunds/credits/grants in a way that does not produce tax liability for the recipients.

    I trust that this communication is helpful and, as always, I appreciate your patience and understanding.

    Finally, I have learned that the families of some students have suffered tragic losses due to the pandemic, and I ask that you join me in keeping those members of our community in your thoughts and prayers.


    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Spring Room, Board, and Certain Fees
    4/5/2020, 3:30 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    I am writing from my remote office at the president’s house on Grampian Boulevard. The campus is not the same without you, but I trust you are doing your best to engage with your faculty and classmates as you begin your third week of remote learning.

    The purpose of this email is to share that the Board of Trustees has approved the College proceeding with a refund of partial room, board and certain fees from the spring semester for students who have not remained on campus. At this time, I anticipate that graduating seniors will receive a refund while returning students will receive a credit on their account with the option to request a refund. This credit/refund will apply to the weeks that remained when the pandemic and the guidelines issued by the State of Pennsylvania dictated that the semester had to be completed using remote teaching and learning.

    I realize that this decision has taken some time, but the administration needed to research how the CARES Act, the Pell Grant program and Stafford loan program impacted our options. I thank you for your patience and understanding as we completed that process.

    We anticipate that the U.S. Department of Education will provide us with guidelines within the next few days that will impact how the College executes this decision by the Board. The College’s Business Office will be in touch with each student individually in the coming weeks regarding your credit/refund, and they will also outline the methodology that determined your refund/credit.

    As always, if you have any questions or further inquiries, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office or the business office. I wish you much success in the remaining weeks of the semester and all of us on campus very much look forward to the opportunity to be back together as a community.


    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Class of 2020 Commencement
    3/30/2020, 9:00 a.m.

    Dear Class of 2020,

    I have been thinking of you all this week as you restarted your semester from locations across the country and globe. Many of you have been in touch to express your thoughts and feelings about how best to celebrate and commemorate your graduation from Lycoming. It became clear to me, your faculty and staff that walking through the gates and holding a Commencement on the campus you called home for four years is of the utmost importance. I am very pleased to announce that we intend for you to have the opportunity – like every other class before you – to celebrate this momentous occasion on campus.

    We have selected Sunday, October 4, 2020, as the day that we will hold a Commencement on campus. At that time, you will experience those deeply meaningful moments of passing through the Metzler Gate and walking across the stage to receive your diploma in front of friends, family, faculty and staff members. The ceremony will also include a Commencement speaker, a senior speaker, and the announcement of the Chieftain Award winner. In addition, we will livestream the event for the benefit of students or family members who will be unable to make the trip to campus.

    Recognizing that many of you will need your degrees in order to pursue your post-graduate opportunities, we also plan to record a virtual event that confers your degree on Saturday, May 16. In addition, while you will each walk across the stage on October 4, you will also receive your diploma in the mail shortly after May 16.

    The weekend of October 2-4 is also Homecoming Weekend, and we will invite your fellow alumni to join the celebration of the wonderful achievements of the outstanding Class of 2020. The weather is usually beautiful in Williamsport in early October, and with a little good fortune, we will be together outside on our beloved Fultz Quad.

    The past three weeks have been unlike any in recent history. Even as I have been saddened by the consequences of this pandemic, I am encouraged by the spirit and sense of obligation evident among the students, faculty and staff of Lycoming College. You have selflessly adapted to remote learning and done your part to slow the spread of this pandemic. You have affirmed the admirable character of your class, and your legacy will be one that is remembered for decades.

    I am thankful for your understanding during this unprecedented time in recent human history, and I am moved by your dedication to each other, your education, and our community. I look forward to seeing you again on October 4, and celebrating your Lycoming story.

    President Trachte

  • Message From President Trachte to Students, 3/19/20
    3/19/2020, 4:45 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    Our extended spring break will end on Monday, March 23, and I am writing to provide you with an update on the progress we have made on implementing remote instruction as well as offer some more specifics about how this transition will take place. In addition, I want to let you know that, although the College has now moved to a mostly remote work environment, the phones are still being answered and someone will get back to you.

    In addition, we have delayed fall course registration and are preparing to conduct this process remotely, including full consultation with your faculty advisers. Specifically, phase 1 registration has been delayed and will last from March 30 through April 13.

    Implementing Remote Instruction

    Your faculty members are now prepared to begin remote instruction and you will begin to hear from them during the next few days. I have joined their discussions during the past several days and I want you to know that they are committed to helping you succeed.

    Some students have expressed a worry about completing their coursework without access to specialized software, laboratory equipment, or studio labs. I can tell you that your faculty are aware of this limitation, and they are making adjustments in course requirements so that access to this type of software or equipment will not be required. Those students who are on campus or live locally will not have an advantage because of their proximity to campus; all course requirements have been changed such that this type of campus access will not be needed.

    I can also tell you that your faculty understand that you will encounter some challenges as we enter this new mode of instruction. We ask that you be patient and calm and know that you will not be penalized if you need help accessing online materials. Should that happen, let your faculty member know. They will attempt to fix the problem and, if necessary, your faculty will refer it to Information Technology Services. You will not be penalized for any problems that you encounter accessing materials in a timely manner.

    The faculty are also aware that the capacity of students to access technology is not uniform. Some students are on campus because they cannot go home for a variety of reasons. We also know that some of you may be home without access to computers or the internet. If that is your situation, please let your faculty member know, and they will attempt to provide low technology alternatives. If the faculty member is unable to provide an alternative, they will refer you to Information Technology Services; and the faculty will be flexible with deadlines.

    Students taking practicum courses or internships should have heard from your faculty supervisors about the solutions that faculty and academic administrators have devised so that students can earn credit for academic experiences like internships and practicum. If not, I suggest that you email Vice Provost Susan Ross at

    Some of you are counting on the College’s May term offerings to complete your degree work, and the College will have several course offerings for May term. We are not yet ready to determine if these courses will be offered in our traditional on-campus model or if we will transition May term to remote learning as well.

    Similarly, some students may have an interest in summer study abroad to earn credit. At this point, I can tell you that it is simply too early to know the feasibility of such plans but I encourage you to be in touch with the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences

    One-Time Change in Grading Policy

    The College also understands that students are anxious about the switch to remote learning and concerned about a potential negative impact on their GPAs. Consequently, the College has adopted a one-time change to grading that will provide a measure of insurance against such a possibility.

    For spring semester 2020 only

    • All grades earned from C and up will continue to be recorded as normal.
    • All passing grades below C (which are C-, D+, D and D-) will be converted to Pass (P) on student transcripts, while grades of Fail (F) will continue to be F.
    • P grades will not be used in GPA computations.
    • Pass grades in spring 2020 can be used to fulfill all college requirements, including distribution, major, minor and prerequisite requirements.
    • Students receiving a P will not be eligible for spring 2020 Dean’s List.

    Students will all be placed into this system automatically, so you do not need to contact the registrar to sign up for it. In the meantime, stay calm and I am confident that the transition to remote learning will be a smooth one.

    In closing, I want to say thank you. I greatly appreciate the patience that all of you have exhibited as our Lycoming College community addresses the challenges posed by COVID-19. I have been heartened by how our community has come together and reached out to care for others. If you have a specific problem that has not been addressed, then please contact me or Dean Miller and we will connect you to the person who can solve your issue.


    President Trachte

  • Message to Students Regarding Residence Halls
    3/15/2020, 9:30 p.m.

    Dear Students,

    I am writing to follow up on President Trachte’s email from Saturday, March 14; and I join him in thanking you for your patience and understanding as the administration and faculty make decisions about how Lycoming College addresses the impact of COVID-19 on our campus and the nation. I have been impressed by your resilience and determination.

    As the President indicated, we are not closing the residence halls, but we are asking that you not plan to live in the residence halls unless your circumstances need an exception and receive approval from me. We will have services available to students who remain on campus but those services will be re-scaled in light of many fewer students using them. We continue to ask that students contact me if they have a need to remain on campus in the coming weeks. If you have already been in contact with me, you are not expected to do so again. Students moving out of the residence halls should follow the procedures described below. We will appreciate every effort made to clean excessive messes and leave the rooms as you found them.

    Check out; moving out of the residence halls for the semester

    It is not necessary to schedule a date or time to come to campus to move up and/or, pick up belongings

    Express Check-Out (self-checkout)

    • Forms are available outside the Residential Life Office (First Floor, Rich Hall –normal business hours) or at the Office of Public Safety (weekends or after business hours).
    • The completed form with all keys (apartment/bedroom/laundry if you live in the apartments) are to be returned to the Residential Life or Public Safety Office prior to leaving campus.
    • All keys (unit/bedroom/laundry if you live in the apartments) should be returned when you checkout using the Express Check-out form in the provided envelope:
      • Keys to any other campus facility (bike room, Greek lounge, lab, office, etc.) should be returned to the office that issued the key.
      • Do not leave keys in your unit/room.
    • Remove all personal belongings
    • Clean stoves, refrigerators, and kitchen cabinets
    • Clean bathrooms
    • Dust and sweep your area
    • Dust and sweep all common areas
    • Remove all sticky items
    • Return all furniture to its proper place

    If you have questions or concerns about check-out, please contact either Residential Life (normal business hours) or Public Safety (weekends or after business hours).

    Note: The College is not requiring that you come to campus this week to remove your belongings. We recognize that some of you may want to move out as soon as possible while others may simply choose to get a few things (i.e., computers and notebooks) and complete moving out at a later date.

    Storage – It is not feasible for the college to store items for all students. We recognize, however, that some students may face obstacles in moving belongings home on short notice. If you need to store personal items for the remainder of the semester and/or for the summer, please contact the Office of Residential Life or Public Safety. Space will be allocated to students who live the greatest distance from the college or have a need that is approved by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of students. Students are responsible for obtaining their own boxes, totes, etc.

    Shuttle Services – You can expect to receive an email on March 16 from, Barb Eldred, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life, regarding shuttle services that will be made available between Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday March 22. Please do not purchase a plane ticket until you review Ms. Eldred’s email. If you should have questions about the shuttle services please, contact Barb Eldred at

    Shuttle services will also be provided at the end of the semester for those who need to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester.

    Week of Extended Spring Break (March 15-22)

    Dining Services – March 15 (dinner) through March 22, 2020:

    Wertz Dining Hall:

    • Breakfast - 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM
    • Lunch - 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
    • Dinner - 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
    • Additionally, meal plan replacements (bag lunches) will be available for students on campus for student teaching or internships

    In order to provide the safest service possible during a time when nationally steps are being taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

    • Dining staff will serve all food options other than beverages
    • Dining will provide wrapped single use silverware
    • Use of Student To Go Beverage Cups will not be allowed but dining services will provide disposable cups with lids upon request
    • Use of green Reusable Take Out Containers are permitted under the same protocol as always of returning them upon entry and getting another or a ticket

    Note: Retail operations will not be open at Café 1812, Jack’s and the Gateway Café.

    Parkhurst Dining Services and the administration will be meeting this week to discuss dining options for the remainder of the semester for those staying on campus. Please be assured some form of dining services will be provided. I will write again this week to those staying on campus with an update on dining services.

    Medical Assistance (extended week of spring break):
    Medical assistance will be available for those staying on campus. During the extended spring break, please go to Health Services during regular business hours, or to Public Safety on weekend days or after business hours.

    In the event you are showing flu-like symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should follow these steps that the college has developed in collaboration with UPMC Williamsport.

    • During regular business hours, you should call Health Services; after hours call Public Safety.
    • You will be asked to answer a series of questions to assist medical professionals in assessing if you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. It is voluntary to answer these questions but cooperation in answering the questions will lead to the best medical response.
    • If your circumstances suggest exposure to the virus, you will be masked and asked to wait in a private area until state and local health officials are contacted.
    • If recommended, you will be brought to the UPMC Williamsport emergency room for a medical assessment and appropriate care.

    The Health Center will resume regular business hours tomorrow, March 16.  The Health Center staff will be available to provide medical assistance or to talk about your personal circumstance as it relates to COVID-19.

    As always, if you should have questions please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate office or me directly. Best wishes for the remainder of the semester.

    Dean Miller

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Remote Instruction for Remainder of Semester
    3/14/2020, 9:00 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    Our understanding of the COVID-19 national and global health crisis has continued to evolve over the past few days. In particular, public health officials have now made it clear that the current rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the United States creates a serious risk that the national health system will be unable to treat properly those who become infected and require hospitalization. We know that we as a nation and college community must take steps that the experts tell us will slow the rate of virus transmission.

    This recognition has led to the closure of public school systems around the country, and public officials, including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, have strongly encouraged everyone to avoid bringing together large groups of people.

    It is now evident that colleges and universities, including Lycoming College, have an obligation to make difficult decisions and take significant steps. We have been called upon to take actions that support the national effort to slow the rate of virus transmission and increase the likelihood that our country can properly take care of those who become infected.

    Recognizing this imperative, I write today to share that Lycoming College has decided that, when the extended spring break ends on March 23, we will suspend face-to-face instruction and teach using remote formats for the remainder of this semester.

    We have considered the option of implementing remote learning for several weeks with the hope that face-to-face instruction could be resumed prior to the end of the semester. We concluded, however, that this option was both unlikely and unwieldly. Epidemiologists project that the number of cases of COVID-19 infections will likely peak during April or May. In addition, there are likely to be other significant obstacles faced by both students and faculty in transitioning back to on-campus instruction.

    This decision has been a difficult one. I understand that many of you, especially seniors, will be disappointed that we will not finish the semester gathered together as a community. I ask, however, that we all come together and recognize that this is a time when we are called upon to sacrifice our individual interests for a greater good and take actions to protect ourselves and others from becoming infected. Our actions and those of others can contribute to the national effort to slow the rate of transmission. These actions will also make it less likely that those who are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus—many of them family members and friends—will become infected. Finally, given the current acceleration of known cases of COVID-19, having hundreds of you return from many different parts of the country, including some locations where significant numbers of infections are being diagnosed, would create a significant risk of a major outbreak on campus.

    Your faculty members have been working during the past week on specific plans for how each course will be conducted remotely. Those preparations will continue this coming week, and you can expect to be contacted by your individual course faculty members on or before March 23.

    • At this time, we anticipate that the semester will end on May 8.
    • Students who face challenges and barriers in accessing remote technology should communicate with their professors.

    Given this decision, we ask that students who are not currently on campus plan not to move back into the residence halls unless you have communicated with Dean Miller about why you need an exception and received approval.

    • We understand that some students will need to come to campus to pack up their belongings, and Dean Miller will send a communication about the procedures to be followed.
    • Dean Miller’s message will also address what to do if you are unable to return to campus to retrieve your belongings.
    • We also know that there are students who are unable to return home and/or need additional time to leave campus. We intend to support students who need to stay in the residence halls and a re-scaled set of food options will be available.
    • We will also assist those students who wish to return home but need assistance doing so. Those who need help in making plans to return home should contact Dean Miller’s office.

    I know that seniors and their families will now wonder what will happen to Commencement. I can tell you that the College will make every effort to hold a graduation ceremony, and I am hopeful that all the steps that we are taking as a nation and a college community will make it possible to have the ceremony on our regularly scheduled date. We will communicate specifics about Commencement as soon as it is possible to have some level of certainty about how the national health crisis is unfolding and how and when we can come together to celebrate this important moment.

    The decision to move to remote learning also means that all campus events planned for the spring semester are postponed indefinitely.

    • We know that many of these events are important to students and their families and we will explore options for rescheduling during the coming weeks.
    • Students who are members of spring athletic teams can expect to hear from the Department of Athletics during the coming week.

    We anticipate that this decision will raise questions about refunds and other financial matters. I ask for your patience as the administration and faculty have been focused on ensuring that all students will have the opportunity to earn credit for the courses in which you are currently enrolled. We have not yet addressed the question of refunds and other financial issues.

    This time period is an unprecedented one for our nation and Lycoming College. As President of the College, my priorities are the health and safety of our community and working with the faculty to make it possible for Lycoming students to earn academic credit for this semester. I also believe that as a community we have a moral obligation to make sacrifices that will help our nation mitigate the consequences of this pandemic. I welcome hearing your thoughts and questions as we move forward.


    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte to Faculty and Staff, 3/12/20
    3/12/2020, 1:30 a.m.

    Dear Faculty and Staff:

    I write to provide an update on how COVID-19 will impact the College’s operations.

    First, similar to many other institutions, we have decided to extend spring break for one week; but we are currently working toward resuming classes on Monday, March 23.

    As was explained in my message dated March 11, the Provost and I think we need to make it possible for all students to earn credit for the courses in which they are currently enrolled. Toward that end, the Provost has met with members of Faculty Council and is planning workshops and assist faculty in developing options for students to complete courses remotely.

    Second, we have asked that students not return prior to Saturday March 21. We must recognize, however, that returning to campus may be the best option for some of our students. Consequently, we are not closing the residence halls. In addition, students who have remained on campus during spring break will also be permitted to stay in residence halls, although we have encouraged them to explore other alternatives. The College will ensure that reasonable food options are available for any students on campus. In addition, we have been assured that UPMC Health has the ability both to treat and diagnose individuals who might manifest symptoms. Dean Miller will coordinate this aspect of our response.

    I plan to update the community again on Thursday, March 19. During the intervening time, faculty and staff should be focused on preparing for the possibility that students will complete their academic work remotely. Please note that this is an extraordinary time; and it will require all of us to be flexible in working with students.

    I have also asked Dean Miller to contact students on Monday, March 16, and ask that they indicate whether they are likely to return to campus on March 23 or prefer to complete courses remotely. This information will be helpful as we plan next steps but I ask that we also understand that we and they change our decisions based upon additional information that becomes available.

    The Provost and Faculty Council are organizing workshops during the week and preparing other resources to support faculty in determining how to deliver courses remotely as needed. While we have not made the decision to move all instruction to remote learning, we should anticipate that some students will decide to exercise this option.

    The Provost and I recognize the need to be flexible with faculty members as well as students. At this time, we are asking that we prepare both for the resumption of on-campus instruction and accommodating students remotely. That said, we do understand that some faculty may decide for any number of reasons to exercise the remote option exclusively, even if we resume on campus teaching. That choice will also be supported.

    As was stated in my message dated March 11, faculty who have concerns about teaching face to face will have the option to teach all courses remotely. That message also noted that staff who have concerns about working on campus should make arrangements with their supervisor and/or Human Resources to work remotely.

    We will also use the next few days to prepare for other scenarios involving remote work. In particular, we will institute a process to ascertain the hardware and software that staff will need to work remotely, identify “essential functions that must be maintained,” and to the extent possible provide cross-training that would allow someone to replace an “essential” employ who is unable to work.

    I have received questions about many other things, including athletic contests, musical and theatrical performances, student life sponsored trips, and other programs. At this point, we have decided that no activities will take place during the extended spring break week. We will also use that week to gather more information and make decisions about other activities scheduled for the remainder of the semester.

    Additional questions are likely to emerge and I invite you to share them with Provost Sprunger or me.

    A number of seniors have asked about Commencement and I believe that we need to wait as long as possible to make that decision.

    I ask that you understand that we are all in a very confusing, fluid and complicated situation. Information about the spread of COVID-19 changes every day. In response, government guidelines and policies are evolving rapidly. As a community, we will need to be flexible and ready to adapt to changing information. I will appreciate your patience and understanding.


    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte regarding Spring Break Extension
    3/11/2020, 11:00 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    I write to provide an update on the College’s decision regarding COVID-19 and how it will impact the College’s operations.

    First, Lycoming College has decided to extend spring break for one week; but we are currently working toward resuming classes on Monday, March 23.

    As was explained in my message dated March 11, we will make it possible for students to complete the semester either remotely or by attending classes on campus. In either case, it will be possible for all students to earn credit for the courses in which they are currently enrolled.

    Second, we are asking that students not return prior to Saturday, March 21. We understand, however, that returning to campus may be the best option for some, and we are not closing the residence halls. We do ask that you contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life by emailing if you plan to return prior to March 21. Students who have remained on campus during spring break will also be permitted to stay in residence halls, although we encourage consideration of other alternatives. The College will ensure that reasonable food options are available for any students on campus. In addition, we have been assured that UPMC Health has the ability both to diagnose and treat individuals who might manifest symptoms.

    You should anticipate another update on Thursday, March 19. Please note that we will be flexible in allowing students to make plans.

    Students can expect to receive an email from Dean Miller on Monday, March 16, asking that they indicate whether they think it is likely that they will return to campus on March 23, or if they prefer to complete their courses remotely. We understand that students may change their decision based upon additional information that becomes available, but their responses will aid our planning process during the next week.

    During the extended week of spring break, the faculty will be preparing courses to deliver remotely. While we have not made the decision to move all instruction to remote learning, we realize that some students will likely decide that they want to complete their academic work remotely. We will be ready to accommodate that option. I want to stress, however, that we are still hopeful that those who prefer returning to campus for face-to-face on-campus instruction will have that option available.

    I have received questions about many other things, including athletic contests, musical and theatrical performances, student life sponsored trips, and other programs. At this point, I can tell you that no events or activities will take place during the extended spring break week. We will also use that week to gather more information and make decisions about other activities scheduled for the remainder of the semester.

    A number of seniors have asked about Commencement, and I want them to know that we will make every effort to hold a Commencement ceremony.

    I ask that you understand that we are all in a very confusing, fluid, and complicated situation. Information about the spread of COVID-19 changes every day. In response, government guidelines and policies are evolving rapidly. As a community, we will need to flexible and ready to adapt to changing information. I will appreciate your patience and understanding.

  • Message from President Trachte, 3/11/20
    3/11/2020, 10:00 a.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    I am writing to let you know that the leadership of Lycoming College has been monitoring the rapidly changing landscape surrounding the COVID-19 virus and we anticipate sending a message later this evening that will address the question whether classes will resume as scheduled after spring break. This communication will be sent directly to students, faculty, staff and, where possible, families of our students.

    As was expected, during the past week, many more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, including in Pennsylvania, and around the world. In addition, a number of institutions of higher education have made announcements about "going online," delaying the resumption of classes, discontinuing travel, and other matters. We are aware of those announcements but also know that it is important for each institution to make decisions that are in the best interest of its students and employees. We also want you to know that we are regularly monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

    At this time, I would like to share some decisions and preparations that have already been made.

    • At the beginning of spring break, the Provost communicated with faculty about preparing to deliver courses remotely should that become necessary.
    • The College will make every effort to identify ways that students can complete courses and earn credit for the spring semester.
    • Students who have health conditions that create greater risk in the event of exposure to COVID-19 will be supported as their circumstances require. Some students may have the option of remaining or traveling home and not returning to campus; under those circumstances, the College will assist in an efficient way with making arrangements for completion of courses.
    • Other students with health conditions placing them at greater risk may not have the option of going home, and the College will assist students who return to campus and have the need to self-quarantine in ways recommended by the CDC. We plan to identify students who may be at greater risk and work to address their needs.
    • Students who have decided that they are not comfortable returning to campus will also be assisted in making arrangements to complete their academic work remotely.
    • We are working on a case-by-case basis with our students who are studying in other countries this semester.

    Members of the community who have questions or need to make arrangements should contact the following:

    • Faculty members should contact the Office of the Provost or write to Provost Sprunger.
    • Staff, especially those who need to work remotely, should contact Human Resources or their supervisor.
    • Students should contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs or write to Dean Miller.

    I welcome your questions and thoughts regarding this situation. Again, you can anticipate an additional communication later this evening regarding the resumption of classes.

    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte, 3/2/20
    3/2/2020, 9:00 a.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    This message comes in light of the increased news coverage and higher levels of concern that have emerged regarding the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    While we have concluded that no immediate changes to College operations are warranted, we want you to know that the administration has been actively monitoring the situation and taking a number of steps both to support students studying abroad and to prepare the campus in the event that transmission of the COVID-19 becomes a significant issue for our community. We are actively monitoring communications from the CDC, the WHO and the PA Department of Public Health. In addition, we have established communication with the infectious disease program at UPMC Susquehanna. Finally, we are updating the Emergency Protocol for Lycoming College’s Global Disease Response that was adopted in 2006 and has been revised regularly.

    You should also be aware that a number of practices to impede the transmission of flu-like viruses are regularly in place. High touch points on campus, including door knobs, are cleaned regularly with a disinfectant. Parkhurst Food Service has Virus Spread Protection protocols in place. Hand sanitizers are found in various places throughout campus and we will be installing additional units and checking them regularly for refills.

    Spring Break Travel

    With students currently on spring break, I want to share some basic guidelines regarding travel.

    • Please monitor CDC guidelines for travel that can be found at Currently, China, Iran, Italy and South Korea have been designated as areas to “Avoid Non-Essential Travel,” but other countries or regions could be added.
    • Persons with health conditions such as compromised immune systems, cardiac issues or recent steroid treatment (e.g. asthma may be at higher risk) and should consult their medical provider about travel plans, especially to affected areas.

    Contingency Preparations Underway

    There are no current known cases in COVID-19 in our community. Given the uncertainties surrounding the virus, however, the following preparations are also underway.

    • The CEAE is handling communications and issues involving students studying abroad and May term travel courses.
    • The Office of Human Resources will communicate protocols for working remotely if that step becomes necessary.
    • The Office of the Provost will coordinate efforts to support teaching and learning if class cancellations or similar steps are required.
    • The Office of Student Life will coordinate communications regarding residence halls if additional steps are required.
    • The Office of Finance & Administration will coordinate steps to continue administrative operations remotely if that should become necessary.

    Finally, I want to stress that we are committed to supporting all faculty, staff and students as this situation evolves. We will keep you updated as the situation warrants.

    I encourage you to contact your supervisor or other relevant campus offices if you have questions or concerns. Toward that end, please find below a summary of CDC recommendations concerning COVID-19.

    Best regards,
    President Trachte

    CDC Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment

    There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
      • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
      • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.