The history of Lycoming College is one of continual transformation and growth.
College Place street sign.
1812 — The Williamsport Academy
The origins of Lycoming College date back to 1812 and the founding of the "Williamsport Academy for the Education of Youth in the English and other Languages, in the Useful Arts, Science and Literature." This was the name under which the school was incorporated -- the lone school serving a lumber port in a thriving community of approximately 350 souls.
Attendance was by subscription, although a state grant the founders procured came with the condition that a number of poor children -- not to exceed five -- would be taught free of charge, thus starting a 188-year tradition of financial aid. The institution also has educated both genders from its inception.
1848 — Williamsport Dickinson Seminary
By 1847, Williamsport had a public school system in place. Rev. Benjamin H. Crever, a circuit-riding Methodist preacher based 30 miles away in Milton, heard that the Academy was for sale. That spring, he trudged for two days through mud roads to see the Academy. Upon his recommendation, the Baltimore Conference purchased the school which opened in the fall of 1848 as the Williamsport Dickinson Seminary, a preparatory school for Dickinson College, another Methodist School.
Ben Crever Lycoming College founder.
Founder Ben Crever
Rev. Ben Crever is considered the founder of Lycoming College; never mind that he was born in 1817, five years after the Lycoming's founding date. But every school should have a founder. After turning the Williamsport Academy into an institution of higher learning, Crever moved on to serve as a Chaplain in the Civil War and to found a total of four schools. Only Lycoming College remains as his educational legacy.
1929 — Williamsport Dickinson Junior College
By 1921, the Seminary had gained a reputation for excellence when Dr. John W. Long took office as its ninth president. Under Long, the institution added junior college courses and in 1929 became the first accredited junior college in Pennsylvania.
History of Lycoming College.
1947 — Lycoming College
In 1947, the institution, again under Dr. Long, became a four-year college of the liberal arts and sciences. In 1948, it officially changed its name to Lycoming College, taking the name from that of the local county. "Lycoming" comes from the Native American word "lacomic" meaning great stream. In 1949, the College conferred its first baccalaureate degrees.
14th President — James E. Douthat
Dr. James E. Douthat became the 14th president in 1989. Under his leadership, the College's enrollment has grown by 27%, and its endowment and other funds under management have increased from 17 million to over 160 million. Since his arrival, the campus has been involved in strategic planning processes, the establishment and implementation of a new faculty governance structure, a major capital campaign, building program, and the adoption of a revised curriculum for the College.
Read the President's Welcome message.
Take the Bicentennial Walk.