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

Lycoming College Begins Year with New Student Convocation

Lycoming College Begins Year with New Student Convocation

Lycoming College’s Class of 2021 passes through the David B. Sykes Gates en route to New Student Convocation.

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Lycoming College welcomed the class of 2021 and transfer students to campus during its annual New Student Convocation on Friday, Aug. 25. The traditional ceremony, which marks the beginning of each academic year, was held on the College’s upper quad near Clarke Chapel.

The ceremony began with the opening of David B. Sykes gates by the student senate officers, followed by a procession of the new students to the quad, where they were joined by the College’s president, faculty and staff in academic regalia. Many parents and family members shared in this celebration on campus; in addition, family and friends representing students from 18 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and from such faraway places as Mauritius, off the coast of East Africa, were invited to join in the event through live streaming.

The Lycoming College Brass Ensemble, directed by William Ciabattari, Ph.D., conductor and associate professor of music, performed several selections for the prelude and the processional. The Lycoming College Choir, under the baton of assistant professor of music Daniel Hall, Ph.D., sang the alma mater and performed a selection from “Big River” and Stephen Paulus’ moving piece, “The Road Home.”

Michael Panczyszyn, a junior astrophysics major from Linden, Pa., and president of student senate, addressed the new students on behalf of the student body. He reminded them of the “importance of having open minds as [you] meet new people from diverse backgrounds and cultures and learn new things.”

President Kent Trachte, Ph.D., spoke about Lycoming’s mission to provide a liberal arts education so that students become “engaged citizens.” Referring to controversial topics currently sweeping the country, Trachte stated that, “These conversations may feel uncomfortable but colleges like Lycoming are places where these discussions should take place. We strive to create an environment that values the free exchange of ideas. We debate vigorously, but we respect those with whom we disagree.”

The faculty address was delivered by Andrew Leiter, Ph.D., professor of English. Leiter made the case that Lycoming’s liberal arts degree will prepare students not for a specific job, but rather, for careers and lifetimes of learning.

Lycoming’s dean of first-year students, Andrew Kilpatrick, concluded the ceremony with some practical advice: “Hit the ground running. Work consistently. Be intellectually curious. Be resilient. Take advantage of our resources, our excellent faculty and staff, and all the experiences that your Lycoming education will offer you over the next four years.”