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Lycoming College once again welcomed an academically-strong and diverse incoming class to its community of dedicated learners on Aug. 17, 2020, with a New Student Convocation on the Fultz Quadrangle for the Class of 2024 and transfer students.
With social distancing in mind, new students walked onto the Quad and found seats, spaced six feet apart, as the Lycoming College Brass Quintet ensemble played. The podium party, in full academic regalia, was in place soon after in the middle of the Quad, where they addressed the students. The event was celebrated both near and far by parents, family members, and other friends of the Lycoming community, as all were invited to watch via livestream.
With an applicant pool of nearly 3,000, the Class of 2024 includes 340 first-year students, the same number the College welcomed to the Class of 2023. Twenty-two percent of the first-year students rank in the top decile of their high school class — four percentage points above average for freshmen classes of the past decade. Average high school GPAs and SATs of the Class of 2024 are amongst the highest on record. As part of its first weekend, the College also welcomed nine transfer students.
More than 39 percent of these incoming students identify as domestic students of color. The group of incoming students is also geographically diverse, with 45 percent of the class hailing from outside of the College’s home state of Pennsylvania, including 17 states and Puerto Rico, as well as from other countries including Jamaica, Japan, and Mauritius.
President Kent Trachte, Ph.D., accepted the Class of 2024 on behalf of the College’s Board of Trustees before addressing the group, touching on how this class will begin its journey “at an unprecedented time in the history of our country,” as the pandemic and calls for racial justice have come to the forefront of the national dialogue.
“As a college founded in the tradition of the liberal arts, Lycoming College seeks to create a culture that respects every human life, rejects extremism in any form, and resists the temptation to simplify complex issues and the practice of demonizing others,” Trachte said. “Rather, we strive to understand cultural difference and appreciate a variety of viewpoints. We seek to be a place where uncomfortable and difficult conversations can take place, where people can reason together, not yell at each other.”
“Every student whom we were expecting to arrive on campus this fall semester did, which is a testament to our dedication to being able to provide a safe return to residential learning,” said Chip Edmonds ’98, executive vice president of Lycoming. “The College has worked tirelessly throughout the summer months to ensure the health and well-being of our entire campus community. The nature of Lycoming’s curriculum and small class sizes make it easy to adapt to safety and social distancing protocols. In fact, it is this nimbleness that is part of its appeal to prospective students looking for a modern liberal arts and sciences education.”
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect and change how people around the globe live, a task force was established to develop a detailed plan for a safe campus environment. Lycoming has been working closely with infectious disease specialists at the world-class health system, UPMC Susquehanna, as it planned for the resumption of residential classes this fall. Both the Class of 2024 and returning students have been greeted with a number of safety protocols in place to help ensure they are living and learning safely. The College will continue to carefully monitor changing guidelines from federal, state, and local governments.
Also contributing to Lycoming’s strong admissions numbers are national college rankings. Lycoming ranked No. 117 on the U.S. News & World Report National Liberal Arts Colleges in 2020, and received special recognition for ranking No. 25 on the U.S. News Social Mobility National Liberal Arts Colleges list. In addition, Lycoming was named one of America’s Top Colleges for Return on Investment by Forbes, and was listed among The Princeton Review’s 386 Best Colleges. Most recently, Lycoming rose 39 spots to take No. 61 in the Washington Monthly 2020 Liberal Arts College Ranking.