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Lebanon Valley College Inaugurates Dr. Lewis Evitts Thayne as 18th President
04.22.13 |
Dr. Thayne, just after the installation.
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After a week of celebration on campus, Lebanon Valley College has inaugurated its 18th president, Lewis Evitts Thayne, Ph.D. In his inaugural address, Dr. Thayne described his aspirations for Lebanon Valley in a speech titled "Our Best Day," and invited alumni, faculty, staff, students, and community members to join the cause of advancing the College.

Dr. Thayne was joined on stage in Lutz Hall of the Blair Music Center by LVC alumnus Governor Tom Corbett, Esq., ’71, Student Government officers, members of the College faculty and Board of Trustees, and representatives of various community groups.

From his first days on campus, Dr. Thayne knew that LVC was a special place. He reflected that the inauguration represents a reconfirmation by the College community of its shared purpose. He reminded listeners that “Lebanon Valley College was created by a body of devout but unlearned people who shared a vision of the good life and took the best way they could think of to preserve it for their children and their children’s children,” a passage from Paul Wallace’s “Centennial History.”

Dr. Thayne commended the work of students and faculty who have participated in transformational experiences—“high impact experiences”—and outlined his vision for every Lebanon Valley College student to participate in such experiences before graduation. “Currently one-third of our students participate in these programs. That is good, but it is not enough… We must be a College that truly changes lives.”

“A high impact experience entails learning on a deeper, more transformational level than traditional classroom learning,” Dr. Thayne said. Experiences such as studying abroad that change the way students think about the world; research experiences working alongside faculty creating new knowledge; and internships where critical thinking and practical applications confirms that students have something relevant to offer the world.

Dr. Thayne also identified that Lebanon Valley’s faculty is robust with entrepreneurial strength, and highlighted the 13 proposals recently funded by the new President’s Innovation Fund. These grants provide direct resources to support innovative ideas in course design, course delivery, and collaborative learning projects.

“On our best day,” Dr. Thayne said, “We are not only producing new knowledge and great teaching, we are also producing new ideas… We must and we will expand the resources available to our faculty.”

Lebanon Valley College alumni will be a critical component of Dr. Thayne’s plan to strengthen resources available to the student body. Thayne envisions the College’s 15,000 alumni as a bridge to “internships, mentors, guides, advocates, a sphere of influence, proof of concept, and financial support.”

“This network is not a luxury. When we invite applications to our College…families and graduates expect there to be a network as a resource. We need to deliver on that expectation,” Dr. Thayne said.

Finally, Dr. Thayne also called for the College to be an innovative place—a diverse community of inclusive excellence that is part of a global learning community. He referenced the founders of 147 years gone by, as they endeavored to creative a higher education community in times of intense religious, military, and cultural conflict.

“The investment of the founders and of the Annville community was an investment in the collective impact of all Lebanon Valley students, present and future. Where there is resolve, there is courage and confidence. They, as we, return to what we most deeply believe in. That a better society will only occur if we work toward it intentionally, that education drives prosperity, innovation, peace, civil society, and democracy itself,” Dr. Thayne said.

Dr. Thayne assumed the Office of the President on Aug. 1, 2012 after an extensive national search. He succeeded Dr. Stephen C. MacDonald, who served from 2004–2012.

Prior to becoming Lebanon Valley College president, Dr. Thayne served as vice president of college advancement at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) in Lancaster for seven years. While at F&M, he transformed an advancement program that produced seven years of record-breaking results while creating innovative programs for alumni and parents.

Dr. Thayne has devoted his entire career to higher education, having successfully served previously at Agnes Scott College, Mount Holyoke College, Bucknell University, and Columbia University. Throughout his career, Thayne has taught several courses and seminars.

After earning bachelor's and master's degrees at Rutgers University, Dr. Thayne received his doctorate in comparative literature at Princeton University. His wife, Dorothy, is an artist and iconographer who studied painting at, and graduated from, the Rhode Island School of Design.

For more information about the inauguration of President Lewis E. Thayne, Ph.D., please visit


View photos from the inauguration on the LVC Facebook page.

Read Dr. Thayne's complete inaugural address on the Office of the President webpage.

Watch the complete inauguration ceremony on YouTube.

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