Lycoming College honors outstanding individuals with 2018 Alumni Awards

PHOTO PROVIDED Pictured, from left, are President Kent Trachte, Mary-Louise Paucke, Gwendolyn (Gehman) Enstine, Raymond Enstine, Brenda Bowser Soder, Bob Martin, Mary Welch, and Melissa (Britcher) Shaffmaster.

The Lycoming College Alumni Association Executive Board (AAEB) honored outstanding individuals during the College’s Alumni & Reunion Weekend festivities recently. Award recipients were selected by the board from nominations received from alumni and other members of the College community, and board president Mary-Louise Paucke ’97, along with vice president Bob Martin ’95, presented this year’s awards.

The Dr. James E. Douthat Outstanding Achievement Award was conferred upon Gwendolyn (Gehman) ’71 and Raymond ’68 Enstine for their collective strength towards significant accomplishments in the professional field and their dedicated support of Lycoming College.

The Taunia Oechslin Young Alumni Award was bestowed to Melissa (Britcher) Shaffmaster ’03 for making significant contributions to her profession, demonstrating leadership and accomplishment in her career, and exemplifying outstanding service and volunteerism to the College or community for the first 15 years after graduating.

The Angela R. Kyte Outstanding Alumni Award was given to Brenda Bowser Soder ’98 for her demonstration of a lifetime of service to humanity and whose life exemplifies those qualities encouraged and fostered by Lycoming College.

The Dale V. Bower Service Award was presented to Mary L. Welch for her outstanding service rendered to Lycoming College.

Ray Enstine had a 30-year successful career in the family propane business, retiring as president of Pulver Gas in Bridgehampton, New York. He was active in serving on various business and industry committees, associations and councils, holding offices at the regional, state and national levels. Wendy Enstine supported Ray by helping with projects at home and attending different state and national meetings and conferences. Their volunteerism and service to communities around the country is inspiring. “We are both fortunate to be able to donate both time and resources to numerous local community, school and church groups, as well as hold leadership positions,” said the Enstines.

Shaffmaster is senior manager of strategic communications for Cornell University. She works with the university’s leadership team to develop and execute strategic communication plans that elevate the university’s mission, priorities and accomplishments to internal and external audiences. A first-generation college student, Shaffmaster said, “The ability to explore, to fail, to learn and to grow is engrained in the Lycoming experience, and I don’t know where I would be without it.”

Soder is the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s director of communications and public affairs. As director, Soder works every day to ensure secure, accessible and efficient federal elections for the American people. Her work ensures election administrators and U.S. voters have the resources they need to shore up the foundation of our democracy.

“This award celebrates not only the strong foundation we received in the classroom at Lycoming, but also how our overall experience there molded us into individuals who care deeply about the rights and well-being of others,” she said.

Welch was a volunteer for the College, serving as a member of the South Campus Improvement Committee that oversaw the $1.5 million re-development of 3.6 acres between Market and Mulberry streets. She had a 30-year tenure on the board of the Williamsport Community Concert Association, serving as vice president and co-chairwoman of membership. She was a board member for the Lycoming County Historical Society and a member of the Friends of James V. Brown Library. Along with her husband, the late Marshall D. Welch Jr. H’12, they have been among the College’s most generous donors, making possible the Mary L. Welch Theatre and renovations to the Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall.

“Commitment to serving others exemplifies our College’s spirit of aiming for a greater good through education and inspiration. These individuals have demonstrated that commitment through their dedication and strong work ethic, and Lycoming is proud to recognize their service with the presentation of these awards,” said President Kent Trachte.

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