Lycoming College president delivers final address to grads

No one brought an umbrella to Lycoming College’s 165th commencement Sunday.

They didn’t have to.

Ceremonies were held at the college’s quad on the sort of warm, sun-splashed spring day that hints of untold promise.

Lycoming College President Dr. James Douthat can’t control the weather.

But he does believe in preparation.

And as he told the school’s 265 graduates during commencement ceremonies, their diplomas are a signal to the world they now are better prepared for a lifetime of learning.

Douthat, who is retiring from the school’s top post after 24 years, said it’s difficult for any of them to know where they will be a year from now, let alone in 20 years.

Luck, he said, follows the trained mind.

Douthat talked about his own journey after graduating from college.

He said he had no idea he’d end up where he did.

“Was I in the right place at the right time?” he asked.

Douthat conceded that he likely was, but that he also was ready to take different academic posts when they came along and to embrace change.

He named 14 Lycoming College graduates who have been successful in any of various career fields.

Among them were Deirdre P. Connelly, class of 1983, who became president of North American Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline, and Dallas L. Krapf, class of 1969, co-owner of Krapf Bus Co., the sixth largest provider of school buses in the nation.

Along with Douthat, the two received honorary degrees Sunday.

Former Lycoming College athletic director and head football coach Frank Girardi noted that Krapf now leads a company with more than 3,200 employees but also has contributed to the college and to the community.

Connelly, it was noted, was named by Forbes as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

Douthat also listed such college graduates as U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, who now represents the state’s 10th District.

“Were the 14 I selected mostly lucky? I think not,” he said.

Douthat urged graduates to prepare for opportunities that will come their way and to continue to train their minds and hearts.

“Happy trails to you, until we meet again,” he said in closing.

Michael Kane II, of Montoursville, spoke to his classmates about what commencement means.

“We are here to celebrate the good times, the bad times,” he said.

Kane said the real world is waiting for all of them and should be looked upon as just a bigger classroom.

He told them their thoughts and ideas all matter.

“Don’t ask what the world needs,” he said. “Ask what makes you come alive.”

Together they can touch the world, he said.

Thirteen students graduated summa cum laude. They were Laura Abigail Anderson, Elisa Danielle Becker, David E. Brown, Kayla M. DeMar, Bethany Michele Garnand, Michelle Renee Herman, Jordan Evan Krebs, Allyson Michelle Marianelli, Mai Phuong Nguyen, Melissa Marie Pennycoff, Rachel Allene Richardson, Drew Alan Thompkins and Alyssa Ashley Webb.

The Lycoming College choir, under the direction Fred M. Thayer, performed “Ain’t Got Time to Die.”

Thayer was among seven college professional and staff members noted during the commencement.

In addition to Thayer and Douthat, they were Deborah J. Holmes, instructor of physical education; Janet M. Hurlbert, professor and associate dean and director of Library Services; Michael D. Jenkins, plumbing supervisor; Richard J. Morris, professor of history; and Dr. Frederic M. Wild Jr., assistant professor of communications.

The favorable weather enjoyed by Sunday’s graduates is expected to stick around at least through today, with plenty of sunshine and high temperatures in the low 70s.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of rain Tuesday through Saturday.

The chance of rain is just 20 percent Tuesday.

Otherwise, it will be partly sunny with a high of 74.

Wednesday is the most likely day for rain, with a 50 percent chance of showers in the forecast.

The likelihood of rain decreases to 40 percent Thursday and 30 percent Friday.

Otherwise, it will be mostly cloudy Wednesday and partly sunny Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures will be in the low 70s through Thursday and slightly warmer Friday with a high of 77.