Lycoming College President Dr. James E. Douthat, who will retire in June 2013, opened his 24th and final year with his traditional State of the College address Aug. 21.
In addition to Douthat's comments about the college's best fundraising year in recent memory, summer improvements to the campus facilities and data on the Class of 2016, the faculty and staff in attendance received an update on the status of the presidential search from Marshall Welch III, a Lycoming trustee and chair of the search committee.
Douthat paid tribute to the more than 3,500 donors who contributed more than $4 million during the 2011-12 fiscal year, resulting in Lycoming's third-best fundraising year ever.
Included was a $1.1 million bequest to fund an endowed professorship, create new program opportunities in theatre and sociology and support student scholarships.
"Perhaps our most obvious physical change added this year is the new artificial turf on the football field, an expensive project brought by the hard work of the development office and by members of our football coaching staff, both past and present," Douthat said. "The great donor response to their requests raised more than $900,000 during a four-month fundraising drive. The turf field has been installed without a dime of tuition or a penny of endowment funds going into the project."
According to Douthat, the Class of 2016 is a diverse group geographically, ethnically and economically.
Students arrived from 19 states and six foreign countries, including 11 from Vietnam.
Fifty-seven of the new students have been invited to join the Lycoming Scholars program.
Twenty-two are either high school valedictorians or salutatorians, and two individuals bring perfect 800 SAT math scores.
Welch informed the audience that numerous qualified candidates have applied for Lycoming's presidency, and he expects a fairly large inflow of additional resumes to arrive prior to the deadline of Friday, Sept. 7.
The search committee, which is receiving guidance from consultant Dr. Tom Courtice of The Association of Governing Boards, will first meet to narrow the pool of candidates and will then begin to interview a select group. The committee will make its final recommendations to the College's board of trustees, which will select the institution's 15th president.