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During its October 30 meeting, the Lycoming College board of trustees approved the 2021 Lycoming College Strategic Plan. In taking this step, the board signaled that it remains strongly committed to the bold aspiration that Lycoming College become recognized as one of the very best national liberal arts colleges. They enthusiastically embraced the Vision Statement that concludes: “Lycoming College will enhance its institutional reputation and strengthen its capacity to draw exceptional students from across the country and around the world.”
My next several contributions to this newsletter will focus on the 2021 Strategic Plan and outline many of its core strategies, but I will begin by highlighting investments in the Arts & Humanities and Athletics that are underway and planned.
In September, the College announced that it was breaking ground on the music building, which is most the visible and dramatic of the College’s investments in the Arts & Humanities. Supported by more than $5.1 million in gifts, it represents the College’s first investment in music facilities in more than 75 years. This priority recognizes that many students choose Lycoming College because they are passionate about choral and instrumental performance. The exciting neo-Georgian design includes a stunning 4,000 square-foot rehearsal and practice space as well as state-of-the-art practice rooms, faculty offices, classrooms, a library, instrument storage, and an outdoor performance plaza flanked by a water feature. The building will provide students and faculty with an exceptional venue to continue the tradition of music making built by legendary faculty and so many alumni.
At a time when many institutes of higher education are eliminating humanities program, the 2021 Strategic Plan commits Lycoming to the innovative strategy of creating a Humanities Research Center (HRC) to celebrate and invigorate the humanities. The HRC will benefit enrolled students by expanding experiential learning opportunities, instituting an undergraduate humanities research conference, and publishing a student-edited undergraduate research journal. This design is expected to raise awareness of Lycoming’s excellence among our peer institutions, provide a highly marketable model that attracts more students, especially those in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and engage the Williamsport, Lycoming County, and Pennsylvania communities to exchange expertise, expand educational opportunities, and promote cultural literacy.
Investments in intercollegiate athletics are also a core strategy of the 2021 Strategic Plan. We have already announced that both field hockey and baseball will once again be among the sports played by Lycoming student-athletes. Two outstanding coaches have been hired to lead these programs. Allyson Kenyon joined the staff in December 2020 from Bridgewater College, where she had served as the field hockey head coach for eighteen years. In June 2021, Rich Oliveri arrived at Lycoming from George Washington University to assume leadership of the baseball program. During the fall, both Allyson and Rick have been busy laying the foundation for the programs and recruiting prospective student-athletes.
I am now delighted to share that the trustees have authorized that the College begin construction of a stadium at UPMC Field in the Shangraw Athletic Complex, which serves as home to both men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse, and field hockey beginning in Fall 2022.
Supported by more than $2 million in gifts and the Person Fund, the $3.5M stadium represents the most substantial investment in athletic facilities since 2003. It will seat 400 spectators and include two locker rooms, a training room, coaches’ offices, and laundry room. Seating will include a Warrior Club Box and two pavilions. The construction will transform UPMC Field into one of the finest venues in the MAC for the five sports played there.
We expect to open and begin use of the music building and stadium in Fall 2022. It will be an exciting time to celebrate Lycoming’s past, present, and future and to look forward to the College’s continued ascent within the ranks of the national liberal arts colleges.
Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Lycoming College.