The Lycoming College Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Kent C. Trachte as the college's 15th president.
Trachte, dean of the college at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, takes on the post July 1. He succeeds Dr. James E. Douthat, who will retire in June after nearly a quarter-century at the helm.
"I am humbled and honored by my selection," Trachte said. "I look forward to building upon the leadership of President Douthat and his many accomplishments during the past 24 years.
"Lycoming College can approach the next phase of its history from a position of strength that lies in the excellence of its students, the distinction of its faculty, the dedication of its administrative staff and alumni, the commitment of its board of trustees and the prudence with which its finances have been managed," he said.
Trachte said he anticipated deepening the educational excellence embodied in the 'Lyco' experience and moving the college toward even greater recognition.
"We welcome (him) to the presidency of Lycoming College," said Peter Lynn, chairman of the college board of trustees. "His deep understanding and belief in the benefits and importance of a liberal arts and sciences education has prepared him well to lead Lycoming.
"He has a proven ability to translate the mission and vision of an institution into both strategic and effective actions. The members of the board look forward to working with him as he leads the college community in ways to further enhance the college's mission, reputation and service to its students."
The board also welcomed Dr. Sharon Trachte, his wife, into the community.
"Both Sharon and I look forward to becoming very involved in Williamsport," Trachte said. "We each hope to find appropriate ways to volunteer our time, service and energy to the community. I have had the opportunity to serve on several boards in Lancaster and look forward to serving on appropriate boards in the county. I have a special interest in education, health care and economic development. Sharon plans to volunteer her time to tutor and mentor children."
Trachte earned a bachelor's degree in government from Dartmouth College, a master's degree in international relations from the University of Kentucky and his doctorate in political science from Binghamton University. He taught political science at several institutions prior to being named dean of freshman at Franklin & Marshall College.
As dean of freshman, he collaborated with members of the faculty to create a first-year residential seminar program. In 2003, Trachte became dean of the college.
Among initiatives he's credited for enhancing at Franklin & Marshall include overseeing integration of athletics and recreation, raising major gifts in support of the college House Commons, athletic facilities, summer study abroad and the college's Life After College Success program. He also promoted internationalization of the campus and deepened the college's commitment to its civic duties and roles.
Trachte and his wife, who holds a doctorate in French literature, have one son. He and his wife live in New York state, where he practices law.
Commenting on the search process to find the best candidates, Lynn, a 1969 Lycoming alumnus, praised the work of those involved, including a 16-person search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Four final candidates were recommended by the committee to the board of trustees, after concluding its review of a nationwide pool of more than 80 applicants, Lynn said.
Lynn also expressed the board's gratitude for Douthat's service. During his time at the college, the school's academic profile was raised to that of a national liberal arts and sciences college. It's overall financial position also was strengthened, as illustrated by the growth of the endowment from less than $19 million to $165 million.
Lynn also praised Emily Douthat as a committed partner and an exemplary volunteer on behalf of the college.
Trachte said he can only see a future of continuing commitment to excellence.
"My understanding is Lycoming College has a long history of being engaged with the community," Trachte said, adding, "Either through students doing internships, volunteer community service and alumni who are leaders in the city, and as president, I am committed to not only continuing, but deepening, the college's involvement in Williamsport.
"In my view, the future of both Lycoming College and the city are intertwined."