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During the month of April, the college community took time to celebrate the wonderful students who attend Lycoming College as well as the loyal donors whose generosity provides the scholarships that make it possible for the College to enroll talented and ambitious students from across the country and around the world. April was a time when we demonstrated our Warrior pride even as we remain committed to building a Greater Lycoming.
The month opened with April’s First Friday festivities in downtown Williamsport that featured the opening of an exhibit at the Lycoming Art Gallery displaying the work of senior art majors and a Lycoming College Music Gala performance at the Community Arts Center (CAC). We then moved on to a Leadership and Service Awards Dinner recognizing co-curricular student achievement and the induction ceremony for new members of Phi Kappa Phi. On the fourth Sunday, we held induction ceremonies for three honor societies in the morning followed by a Scholarship Day Luncheon where we expressed gratitude to all who provide gifts to establish either endowed or current use scholarships, and we concluded the afternoon with Honors Convocation.
Sharon and I had the pleasure of attending both the opening of the Senior Art Show and the Music Gala. I felt a great sense of pride watching as our senior art majors presented brief gallery talks to a packed room that included numerous community members as well as students, parents, faculty, and administrators. We then walked down West Fourth Street to the CAC where we and an audience of five-hundred were treated to beautiful music by the Lycoming College Community Orchestra and Concert Band, an inspiring performance of Rutter’s “Gloria” by the Lycoming College Choir, a special guest ensemble, and the Williamsport Chamber Choir.
The Leadership and Service Awards Dinner focused attention on students who have achieved at a high level in fraternity and sorority life, intramural sports, and planning campus events. Mr. James Tkach ’78 was the Seuren Leadership Speaker. Jim recounted how the loss of his son to suicide led him to form a foundation that provides assistance to other young people struggling with mental illness. His remarks certainly inspired awardees to give of themselves to improve the lives of others.
Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. In recognition of their academic achievement at the highest level, as well as having exhibited high moral character, eighteen students were inducted last month. During their induction, the students pledged fidelity to the organization’s motto, “Let the love of learning rule humanity.”
Along with Phi Kappa Phi, the Circle of Omnicron Delta Kappa (ODK) is one of four societies that are part of the prestigious collegiate Honor Society Caucus, and ODK is widely considered the most prestigious leadership honor society present on American college campuses. Reflecting their accomplishments in different facets of college life and potential for development as leaders, thirty-two students were inducted into ODK. Their records of accomplishment testify to the contributions that students are making to community service, spiritual activities, athletics, campus government, and the creative and performing arts.
At the Scholarship Day Luncheon, two outstanding students spoke about their experiences at Lycoming and expressed gratitude to our scholarship donors. Melissa Bilza ’19, a double-major in music and corporate communications, earned a music scholarship to Lycoming. Since arriving, she has pursued her passion as a member of the Tour Choir and a performer in musicals, but she has found so much more. Because of the generosity of alumni and friends, she traveled with the Tour Choir to China, studied abroad in London, and conducted independent research. Challenging the public narrative questioning the value of a college education, Ben Conrad ’19, a religion major and biblical languages minor, passionately defended the value of a Lycoming education as a preparation for life and not merely a credential. Alumnus Frank Kindler ’77 outlined the value of a Lycoming education in his life and explained that his endowed scholarship is his way of giving back to the College.
More than fifty students were recognized by academic departments and programs for their excellence at Honors Convocation. Awards were also given for community service and athletic achievement and Drs. Micah Kurtz and Darby Lewes received faculty teaching awards. The ceremony culminated with the naming of the College’s 67th Chieftain: Kaitlyn Hipple ’18 from Montgomery, Pa. During her four years, Kaitlyn has been a Mellon Foundation Research Scholar, conducted independent research as a Haberberger Fellow, and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. She also co-translated a book of short stories, “Heartbeat” by Xánath Caraza, which was published this year with Dr. Sandy Kingery of the department of modern languages. We are all very proud of Kaitlyn.
This period of celebrating the exceptional students who attend Lycoming College will conclude on May 12 with Commencement where Academy Award winner Tom Woodruff Jr. ’80 will be the keynote speaker. We will recognize the Class of 2018 one final time and then look forward to the contributions they will make to our world.
Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Lycoming College.