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Dr. Lewis E. Thayne announced that the coming academic year will be his final one as president of Lebanon Valley College. He and his wife, Dorry, will retire from the College on June 30, 2020.
Since his appointment as president in 2012, Dr. Thayne has led the College through a transformational time resulting in marked gains to student and graduate success. Milestones include a successful Middle States accreditation, three successive years of record enrollment, construction of the Jeanne and Edward H. Arnold Health Professions Pavilion ensuring LVC's leadership position in health professions education, the establishment of 12 successful academic programs, and an institutional commitment to Inclusive Excellence.
“It has been an honor for me to lead the institution at this time in our history,” said Dr. Thayne. “Dorry and I were so impressed by the LVC students on our first visit. In seven years, as we have seen the work of the College and the impact of our students, our admiration has grown. There is a shared dedication to our students by faculty, staff, alumni, and the community that is so important."
Early in his time at Lebanon Valley, Dr. Thayne led a collaborative strategic planning process that resulted in the Envision 2020 Strategic Plan and One Campus Master Plan. Envision 2020 has guided the launch or revamp of more than a dozen academic programs designed to anticipate degree demand and student learning needs, including the five-year master’s in athletic training and master’s in speech-language pathology programs. The College also significantly revised its core curriculum to create Constellation LVC to provide students with the critical thinking, communication, creative, and analytical skills employers seek.
In January 2018, Dr. Thayne announced the establishment of The Edward and Lynn Breen Center for Graduate Success, which offers human skills training, professional coaching, personal branding, and mentoring to prepare students and graduates for success in business and society. Breen Center programming reaches students freshman year and progresses with their development through and beyond graduation. It was established through a $1.5 million gift through the Breen Family Foundation from College trustee Edward D. Breen, chief executive officer of DowDuPont Inc., and his wife, Lynn.
“Dr. Thayne’s vision for integrating academic programs with career readiness programming made the Breen Center possible,” said the chair of Lebanon Valley College’s Board of Trustees, Elyse Rogers ’76. “LVC was instrumental in preparing me for a satisfying career in law and a lifelong love of learning, and I am grateful the College is innovating to provide even greater opportunities for the next generations of graduates.”
A $10 million challenge gift from Jeanne and Edward Arnold supported the construction of the 53,000-square-foot Arnold Health Professions Pavilion. Other major facilities enhancements during Dr. Thayne’s time as president have included renovations of the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library into a state-of-the-art research and learning resource center, the creation of the Lebegern Learning Commons as a campus hub for academic resources, the Miller Chapel, and the Mary Capp Green Residence Hall.
"When approached by Dr. Thayne to consider supporting the health professions pavilion, it was our pleasure to do so, as we felt this would bring a significant career option to Lebanon Valley College’s superbly well-rounded curriculum," said Drs. Edward and Jeanne Arnold. "He will always be regarded as one of the finest presidents we’ve ever had at Lebanon Valley College."
In recent years, the College has focused on affordability for students and investments in faculty and new academic programs. Also in that time, 10 Lebanon Valley College students have been named as Fulbright Finalists for their academic excellence.
Former chair of the Board of Trustees, Wesley T. Dellinger ’75 P'05, said Dr. Thayne’s fundraising background established important relationships with alumni and friends and connected the institution with new resources. “I deeply appreciate his depth of understanding of all the areas of higher education, from fundraising and government relations to educational programming, student life, enrollment, and career preparation,” said Dellinger. “He has built an effective leadership team for the College to move the institution forward.”
In 2017, Dr. Thayne joined the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, to which he was elected treasurer for 2019–20. He also serves on the board of trustees for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and of his high school alma mater, Wyoming Seminary.
Before Lebanon Valley College, Dr. Thayne served for seven years as vice president of college advancement at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. He was formerly vice president for institutional advancement at Agnes Scott College and held positions at Columbia University, Bucknell University, and Mount Holyoke College.
Dr. Thayne will focus his work in the coming year on the most strategic and impactful projects for Lebanon Valley College and its students.
Rogers said the institution’s competitive position has improved during Dr. Thayne’s tenure. “LVC has become a stronger, more strategic institution under his leadership,” she said. “The College provides an exceptional education to its students, who in turn, as graduates, meet the needs of society.”
A national search for Lebanon Valley College’s 19th president will begin this summer.