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Lycoming College welcomed first-year and transfer students during New Student Convocation on Thursday, Aug. 25. In keeping with a long-held tradition on campus, students marched through the David B Sykes gate and onto the Fultz Quadrangle for the customary ceremony that marks the beginning of the academic year.
For the first time since 2019, friends and families were invited to join students, faculty, and staff in the celebration of the class at the College. The Class of 2026 is comprised of 337 new students. About one-third of the class are persons of color. Nearly half are from outside of Pennsylvania, including 19 different states and nine different countries from around the world. The class is academically strong with more than 23 percent in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.
Dan Miller, Ed.D., vice president for student life, provided a warm welcome to attendees by saying, “This gathering, New Student Convocation, I think has two very significant meanings. First, it’s acknowledgement of your past achievement that led to your acceptance and ultimately your decision to enroll at the College. The second is your formal induction into this community of scholars, artists, community servants, and student athletes, and seeks to be inclusive, acknowledging diversity of race, culture, identity, and faith. We are excited to have you as the newest members of our community, and congratulations!”
Kamarie Blacksher ’23, president of the Student Senate, urged students to get involved. “One piece of advice I would like to give you is to be bold and create an amazing experience for yourself. Whether that means going to a softball game, going to a band performance, volunteering in the community or joining a club like the Multicultural Awareness Group or even starting a new one. Here at Lyco, there are so many ways to be involved on campus and to create memorable experiences.” she said.
In the presentation of the class, Philip Sprunger, Ph.D., provost and dean of the faculty, said, “Today is the dawn of your college journey. Monday you will begin your classes. Embrace and integrate them with your other interests and activities to create the whole education that is Lycoming College.”
In his charge to the Class of 2026, President Kent Trachte, Ph.D., said that the students who best succeed at Lycoming learn to think deeply and act boldly. “It happens by being open to the mentoring of our nationally recognized faculty. It occurs when you become an active learner. It takes place when you engage in exploring new ideas and studying the pressing issues that shape our world. It happens when you evidence intellectual curiosity and seek to expand your world view. It takes place when you are hungry to learn,” he advised.
The faculty address was delivered by Rachel Hickoff-Cresko, Ed.D., associate professor of education and director of teacher education. As part of her speech, Hickoff-Cresko described an activity she models for her pre-service teachers to show how they can support children who might struggle with problem-solving activities. The activity, called “maze moments,” provides children with strategies to be problem-solvers, particularly when they feel overwhelmed or stuck. “I am confident that your four years will be filled with lots of joy and success. But occasionally, you may have academic, social, and emotional ‘maze moments.’ Moments when you may feel unsure how to proceed,” she said. “I want you to think about those strategies – look ahead, reflect, try to solve your problem from a different direction, learn from your errors. Talk to others and get more information. And know, you are never alone here at Lycoming College.”
Theresa Spanella Ed.D., assistant dean for inclusivity and first-year students, provided closing remarks, “Be bold, take risks, and don’t let the fear of failure stop you… see your studies here as part of a lifetime of learning. You deserve to be proud of this moment and to take this opportunity to celebrate what lies ahead.”
The Lycoming College Brass Ensemble, directed by William Ciabattari, Ph.D., associate professor of music and chair of the department, performed several pieces for the prelude and the processional. The Lycoming College Choir also performed a number of selections.