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The Campaign for a Greater Lycoming officially ended on June 30. While we will not announce the final amount raised until the Campaign Celebration on October 5, I thought I would offer some reflections on its significance and what we have accomplished together.
At its core, this Campaign should be understood as having created an intense focus on generating the financial resources needed to implement the 2014 Strategic Plan — a plan that began with the following vision statement: “renew and deepen Lycoming’s identity as a national liberal arts college with the goal of becoming recognized as one of the very best liberal arts colleges in the country.”
This Campaign and its accompanying Strategic Plan have sought to enhance institutional reputation by investing in the quality of both the academic program and student life experiences. We have also developed the capacity to recruit a global, national, and culturally diverse student body. We have renovated and constructed facilities needed to attract a talented student body and support the first-rate education that we offer them. Recognizing that great colleges also engage and shape the places where they are located, we have also taken steps to revitalize the East End of Williamsport and enrich the downtown arts culture.
We can also cite evidence that institutional reputation has been enhanced. The Princeton Review’s annual publication identifying the best colleges now includes Lycoming College. We have risen in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. We have received grant funding from foundations that support only the very best colleges — the Mellon Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation. The government of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has also recognized our excellence as we have partnered with the City of Williamsport to secure millions of dollars of public funding to support East End revitalization.
The students who we are recruiting and the learning experiences that they are enjoying, however, are the most powerful expression of the meaning and purpose of this Campaign.
We have just finished recruiting the Class of 2023 and they are an exceptional class. They have the strongest academic credentials of any class in at least the past fifteen years:
- 25 percent of the class ranks in the top decile of their high school graduating class. This figure compares to 21 percent in 2018 and an average of 19 percent during the past decade;
- 30 percent of the class has a high school GPA higher than 3.75 as compared to an average of 25.7 percent during the previous nine years;
- The average SAT score of the class is 1125 (V+M), which is also the highest in the past decade; the average of the preceding three years was 1104.
At the same time, the Class of 2023 is the most diverse in the College’s history:
- 55 percent identify as Anglo American, 19 percent Latino American, 14 percent African American, and four percent international.
Finally, the Class demonstrates that the College has a national and global presence:
- Nearly half come from outside our home state of Pennsylvania;
- 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are represented, including Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Texas;
- The class includes students from nine countries, including Canada, China, Ghana, India, Mauritius, Liberia, Nepal, Serbia, and Zimbabwe.
Even as we recruit great students from around the nation and the world, our current students are competing successfully for some extraordinary experiences. They have earned highly competitive national scholarships, been selected for outstanding internships, and received research awards at some of the best places in the nation. The Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences (CEAE) has played in integral role in creating these opportunities, preparing students to compete and supporting faculty and students in creating high impact learning experiences. During the current summer, for example, the CEAE and its partnering academic departments are supporting 180 enhanced academic experiences across global education, research, and internships.
The following represents a sample of the impressive accomplishments of current students:
- Two recent graduates, Rachel Hamm ’18 and Zachary High ’18, received Fulbright Scholarships this year;
- Mikayla Feldbauer ’20 received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship;
- Ashley Heisler ’20 was selected from an outstanding pool of applicants for an internship at the General Accounting Office of the U.S. Government;
- Two students are interning at the Smithsonian Institution and another at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History;
- A student is doing research at the Biodiscovery Institute at the University of North Texas led by Dr. Kent Chapman ’86;
- Seven students have earned external research opportunities at places like the Old Dominion University Ocean and Earth Science Program, John Hopkins Space Telescope Science Institute, the University of Washington, the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Gama Ray Observatory near Puebla, Mexico, and the National Radio Observatory in Nobeyama, Japan.
Closer to home, the Clean Water Institute has nine students doing research; 23 students are participating in the Williamsport Internship Summer Experience; 10 students completed the Lycoming Archaeological Field School at the Biology Field Station; 16 students are working with 11 faculty members across nine departments on summer research grants; and three students hold Department of Chemistry Endowed Summer Research Fellows, including one doing research with Jeremy Ramsey, Ph.D., in the Dominican Republic.
The support of alumni, friends, foundations, and corporations through The Campaign for a Greater Lycoming makes all this possible and, as president, I am deeply grateful to all who have made gifts to the Campaign. I look forward to seeing many of you on campus for the Campaign Celebration on October 5, 2019.
Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Lycoming College.