Last week, Lycoming College held two regional campaign events—one at the Hershey Hotel and the other at the Union League in Philadelphia-- that were attended by more than 150 alumni. Seeing so many alumni in the same place and conversing with them reinforced once again my conviction that there is something special about a Lycoming education. For several decades, the passionate commitment of the college’s faculty, the intimate size of the student body (1300 students), and thoughtfully constructed curriculum have converged to prepare graduates who become highly accomplished in their fields.
Walking into the Castilian Room at the Hotel Hershey, I first encountered Don Hughes ‘72, a trustee of the College and a partner in an investment firm in Baltimore, MD. Don and I were soon joined by Anthony Worrall ’99, a partner and owner of a full service building solutions company in Harrisburg. After some conversation about the state of the economy in the post-election period, our discussion shifted to their experiences at Lycoming College. Don talked warmly and at some length about his mentor, teacher and friend the legendary Logan Richmond, long-time chair of the Accounting Department. Anthony recalled a senior year internship at Turn Key Construction was pivotal in securing his first job.
My next conversation included Eric Katz ’94, the CFO and Controller at a regional company that distributes premier HVAC and hydronic products. Eric recalled fondly his participation in Habitat for Humanity trips with then campus minister Marco Hunsberger. Shortly, we were joined by Linda Sweeney ’78 who had a distinguished career as an attorney in Lancaster PA. Linda spoke fondly of Dr. Ernie Giglio whom she credited with igniting her passion for the law. This conversation concluded with Linda saying “I sent my son to Lycoming. I think that speaks volumes of the faith I have in Lycoming.”
Four nights later, another wonderful event unfolded at the Union League in Philadelphia. My initial conversation partners that evening included Dale Krapf ’67. Dale, who is the chair of the second largest bus operator in the United States, and I spent time on our new Gateway Building, for which Dale and his brother Dallas are the lead donors. After a few minutes Joanne Hullings ‘79, who is an emergency room physician, came over to say hello. She shared with me that one of her most impactful experiences at college had been her radio show; she was proud to say that she was the first female to get a Class 3 Operators license. Joanne also expressed excitement about the new neuroscience major that I had mentioned in my formal remarks earlier that evening.
A few minutes later Matt Ruth ’14 came over and greeted me warmly. He asked about Dr. Madresehee, the Economics professor who had served as Matt’s advisor and support. In Matt’s words: “I likely wouldn't have a degree in economics if it weren’t for him!” Matt is now working as a political consultant and emphasized that his senior year internship working at Senator Casey's office in Bellefonte had ignited his “personal brand”. He also told me that he continues to talk personally with a number of his professors.
Later in the evening I was able to catch up with Alumni Board member Paul Henry ’66 and retired CEO of a health services company, whom I have come to know quite well. I first asked for the latest news about his Lycoming roommate, the Angolan ambassador to the United Nations Ismael Martins. Our talk next turned to a senior history seminar class that Paul took. There were only three other students and they sat around a dinner table in the professor’s house, as his family went about their daily evening tasks-- an education that Paul described as “just priceless.”
At dinner later that evening, my spouse Sharon and spent time with Diane Dalto Woosnam ’73 and her husband Richard. We discussed her vision for the public art project that she is leading for the new family court building in Philadelphia as well as her lifelong friendship with fellow Lycoming trustee Barbara Sylk ’73. Richard and Diane also shared stories about their latest traveling adventure—they have literally traveled the world.
Driving back to Williamsport early the next morning, Sharon and I had time to reflect upon the two evenings that week spent with remarkable Lycoming alumni. As we approached campus, we began speculating about the great things our current students will be doing 10, 20, 40 and more years from now.
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