Douthat to deliver commencement address
Dr. James E. Douthat, who will retire as Lycoming College’s 14th president in June after 24 years of service, has accepted an invitation by the
College’s board of trustees to deliver the keynote address at Lycoming’s 165th commencement ceremony. The event will be held Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m. on the
Quad, where the Class of 2013 will process through the Oliver Sterling Metzler
Gate, which is traditionally opened just once-a-year on commencement day.
Douthat’s contributions to the growth and success of
Lycoming College are truly remarkable,” said Peter Lynn, a 1969 alumnus of the
College and board chair. “Both Jim and his wife, Emily, have touched the lives
of countless students during their lifetime commitment to higher education. So
it is fitting that he will lead us in celebrating the achievements of the Class
of 2013. President Douthat’s long-term dedication to
the College and unparalleled work ethic are perfect examples for our students
as they set out into the world.”
During Douthat’s tenure, Lycoming’s academic profile was raised to
that of a national liberal arts and sciences college. Today, Lycoming is
consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best colleges by U.S. News &
World Report, Forbes.com and The Princeton
College’s overall financial position has been significantly strengthened, as
illustrated by the growth of the endowment from less than $19 million when he
began in 1989 to more than $175 million today. Under his leadership, Lycoming’s
academic programs have grown and strengthened, strategic planning processes
have been implemented, three major capital campaigns have been successfully
concluded, a significant building and renovation program has been undertaken,
and a revised curriculum for the College was adopted.
Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on new facilities,
including the Shangraw Athletic Complex, Recreation
Center, Mary L. Welch Honors Hall and The Commons, an apartment-style student
residential complex. Major additions and renovations have also been undertaken,
such as the expansion of the Wertz Student Center. During the past two decades,
millions were focused on the growth and operational support of information
technology and its integration throughout the academic curriculum of the
other educational enhancements were added during Douthat’s
presidency. Among them, the Office of the Assistant Dean for Freshmen to
support the transition to College, the Institute for Management Studies to
enhance the business, accounting and economics departments, and the Visiting
Scholars Program to bring directors, conductors, writers, ambassadors and
others, some outside of academia, into the College’s classrooms. The College
now has more than 225 endowed scholarships, making it financially possible for
hundreds of students to attend each year. Douthat also worked closely with
donors to recognize excellent teaching and scholarship through the creation of
nine endowed professorships.
has chaired numerous boards, including the Association of Independent Colleges
and Universities of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the
Middle Atlantic Conference, and the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
He has served as a board member of Susquehanna Health, the National Advisory
Board of The School of Theology at Claremont (Calif.) and on the NCAA’s
Presidents’ Advisory Group for Division III. In 1999, Douthat led the Lycoming
County United Way Campaign.
began his professional career at Duke University. He served there as dean for
student life until 1980 when he went to Albion (Mich.) College, where he was
executive vice president until he accepted the presidency at Lycoming in 1989.
in Petersburg, Va., Douthat earned a bachelor’s degree from The College of
William and Mary. He holds a master’s in divinity and a doctorate in
educational management, both from Duke University. His interests include the
study of American and English history, 18th- and 19th-century Japanese netsuke,
and international travel, having visited more than two dozen countries.
and Emily are the parents of two grown children, Mark and Anna.