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Lehigh Summit Speakers

William D. Bast ’79 ’83G
Principal, Thornton Tomasetti 
William Bast has built an impressive portfolio in his more than 25 years working with the structural design and assessment of buildings. It includes the ABN Amro tower, Metropolitan Tower residential conversion project, Wrigley Building renovations and restorations, and the U-505 submarine relocation for the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti, a leader in engineering design, investigation, and analysis serving clients worldwide, is the structural engineering firm on the Kingdom Tower. Before joining Thornton Tomasetti in 1998, Bast was project manager and lead structural engineer on the $175-million Navy Pier Renovation and Reconstruction Project.  

Bast earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from Lehigh University.

Dr. Patrick V. Farrell
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Lehigh University
Dr. Patrick V. Farrell joined Lehigh University in July 2009 and he is the university’s chief academic officer.

Dr. Farrell has been instrumental in several initiatives: leading the implementation of Lehigh’s Strategic Plan, serving as principal investigator for the Lehigh ADVANCE Grant, and furthering the university’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse community. Previously, Dr. Farrell was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a professor of mechanical engineering with over 25 years of experience.

Dr. Farrell received his BSME degree from the University of Michigan, a MSME degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

More information on Patrick Farrell.

Vincent A. Forlenza Jr. ’75
Chair, CEO, and President, Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD)
Vincent A. Forlenza leads the global medical technology company BD that serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, industry, and the general public. He is chair of AdvaMedDx and serves on the board of the Advanced Medical Technology Association and The Valley Hospital. He is also a member of Lehigh University’s Board of Trustees and is on the advisory board for the university’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Forlenza earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh in 1975 and his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1980.

More information on Vincent Forlenza Jr..

Alice P. Gast
President, Lehigh University
Dr. Alice P. Gast is an internationally renowned scholar, academic leader, and distinguished researcher in the study of surface and interfacial phenomena. She is co-author of Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, a classic textbook on colloid and surface phenomena, and has presented named lectures at several of the nation’s leading research institutions. She became the 13th president of Lehigh University on August 1, 2006.

Under Dr. Gast’s leadership, Lehigh launched a long-range strategic plan that includes four components: addressing grand challenges and national needs in strategic areas of focus, investing in faculty and staff, providing a best-in-class student experience, and partnering in the renaissance of the local community.

In 2010, Dr. Gast was named to the prestigious post of science envoy by the U.S. State Department, traveling to Central Asia and the Caucasus in that role. The following year, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation, the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Atlantic Council. Additionally, Dr. Gast is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Before coming to Lehigh, Dr. Gast was vice president for research and associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and held the Robert T. Haslam chair in chemical engineering. Prior to M.I.T., she was a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.

More information on Alice Gast

Thomas J. Hyclak
Interim Dean, College of Business and Economics, Lehigh University
Thomas Hyclak has been a member of the economics faculty at Lehigh since 1979. His research has focused on empirical studies of labor market outcomes, human resource management innovations, urban and regional economic issues, and general themes in economics. In recent years, he has taught principles of economics, intermediate macroeconomics, and a graduate seminar in empirical labor economics. He was chair of the economics department from 1999 to 2005 and interim dean of the College of Business and Economics from 2005-2007. He is again serving as interim dean during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Dr. Hyclak earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from Cleveland State University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Ellen Iobst ’81 ’15P
Senior Vice President, Manufacturing & Technology & Chief Sustainability Officer, Sunny Delight Beverages Co.
Ellen Iobst is one of the founding managers of Sunny Delight Beverages Co. helping to reshape the corporate culture of the company through several initiatives. Most notable was her accomplishment in coordinating the company's five manufacturing plants to achieve the goal of "zero waste to landfill" in a five-year period, reducing the amount of packaging materials by more than 21.5 million pounds since 2005. In her position, she oversees manufacturing, purchasing, supply chain, and engineering. 

In 2010, the Ethisphere Institute recognized Iobst as one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics for changing the corporate culture to a zero-waste mentality. She was also selected as one of The Cincinnati Enquirer’s 2011 Top 20 Professional Women to Watch. Prior to joining Sunny Delight Beverages Co., Iobst worked for Procter & Gamble for 23 years in manufacturing.

Iobst serves on several voluntary boards including the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Board as 1st Vice President. She also serves on two professional boards: Juice Products Association as the 1st Vice President and the Transplace Customer Advisory Board where she was past president.
Iobst earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University.

More information on Ellen Iobst.

Frederick Kempe
President and CEO, Atlantic Council
Frederick Kempe has held the position of president and CEO of the Atlantic Council since 2007. He is the author of four books and a regular commentator on television and radio both in Europe and the United States. His latest book, BERLIN 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth was published in 2012 and is a New York Times bestseller. Under his leadership, the Atlantic Council has achieved significant growth while considerably expanding its staff, work, and influence in areas that include international security, business and economics, energy and environment, and global issues of transatlantic interest ranging from Asia to Africa.

He comes to the Council from a prominent 25-year career at The Wall Street Journal where he won national and international recognition while serving in numerous senior editorial and reportorial capacities.

He is a graduate of the University of Utah and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has received numerous honorary doctorates and has won the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's top alumni achievement award and the University of Utah's prize for the top young alumnus.

More information on Frederick Kempe.

Mary Nicholas ’13P
Professor of Russian and Scholar of Russian Art, Lehigh University
Dr. Mary Nicholas is associate professor of Russian in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. A graduate of the University of Wyoming and the University of Illinois, she received her doctorate in Russian literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also worked as associate director of the Center for Soviet and East European Studies. Dr. Nicholas has also served as associate editor of the interdisciplinary journal Slavic Review, English-language editor at Mir Publishers in Moscow, and assistant director of the Project on Contemporary Soviet Society at the University of Illinois. She has also served as the past vice-president of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages.

She currently is a member of the advisory board for the American Councils Critical Language Scholarships Program and on the development committee for the American Councils Flagship Test designed to measure second-language proficiency of students on American Councils study-abroad programs between the United States and the Russian Federation. An award-winning teacher, Dr. Nicholas has published extensively on post-revolutionary Russian prose, poetry, and the visual arts of late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia.

More information on Mary Nicholas.

Mark Orrs
Professor of Practice and Director of Sustainable Development, Lehigh University
After six years as a candidate in the Ph.D. in Sustainable Development Program at Columbia University, Orrs joined the faculty at Lehigh to create a new academic program in his field of sustainable development.
Orrs holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Saint Joseph’s University and a diploma in economics from the London School of Economics. His primary research interests and field projects have focused on economic growth and development in Sub-Saharan Africa, with approaches from the perspectives of health economics and gender and education. In 10 years of travel and resesarch, Orrs has visited more than 10 African countries. He is co-founder and president of Harambee USA, Inc., an American non-profit that focuses on creating new jobs in underdeveloped urban areas of Kenya.

More information on Mark Orrs.

James M. Robinson ’82 ’84
VP, Vaccines & Biologics Technical Operations, Merck & Co, Inc.
James M. Robinson joined Merck in 2010 as the vice president of Technical Operations for Merck Vaccines and has been supporting both the vaccines and biologics manufacturing network since 2012. His responsibilities span seven internal sites in five countries and approximately $11 billion in annual sales. Prior to joining Merck, Robinson had served Sanofi Pastuer for 21 years in various production, development, and engineering roles, ultimately responsible for Sanofi’s U.S. vaccine supply. Prior to Sanofi Pasteur, he supported the launch of NutraSweet® with GD Searle & Co. and the development of recombinant vaccines with Novavax, Inc., for a combined career of nearly 30 years in biological manufacturing and development. 

Collectively, Robinson has managed the production of nearly 2 billion doses of nearly every vaccine including influenza, tetanus, meningitis, chicken pox and shingles, rotavirus, MMR, cervical cancer, and Hepatitis A and B. He has also managed developmental recombinant protein vaccines, spending much of that time "industrializing" vaccine and therapeutic protein manufacturing technologies. He currently is focused on production of Merck’s latest cancer therapies. In December 2012, he was featured in Life Science Leader magazine for transforming Merck’s approach to vaccine manufacturing.
Robinson earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Lehigh University and is a Licensed Professional Engineer. 

More information on James Robinson

Tara I. Stacom ’80
Executive Vice Chair, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.
Since joining Cushman & Wakefield in 1981, the global commercial real estate firm headquartered in New York City, Tara Stacom has distinguished herself as one of the leading tenant representation professionals in the industry. As a vice chair and member of Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Advisory Board, she has consistently ranked among the firm’s top five producing brokers globally.

Stacom is a member of Lehigh University Board of Trustees, having previously served from 2002-2008 and 2009-2012. She is also a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, where she sits on the Ethics Committee and Commercial Brokerage Division Board of Directors. She is a rotational board member of Girls, Inc.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Lehigh in 1980.

More information on Tara Stacom.

Dr. Richard N. Weisman
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University
Dr. Richard Weisman is an expert in the fields of hydrology, sediment transport, and coastal engineering.
He has published more than 50 reviewed journal articles and symposium papers regarding his research in different parts of the world. He has completed studies on scour in ice-covered rivers, wind mixing in the surface layer and evaporation from lakes, and on urban hydrology issues. He has published and consulted widely on the use of fluidization for sand management in the coastal environment and on the use of beach drains as a method of shore stabilization.

At Lehigh, Dr. Weisman teaches courses in fluid mechanics, hydraulic engineering, and engineering hydrology. He also teaches courses on sustainable development that encompass his interests in international education and issues related to resource utilization and economic development. For the last 16 years, he has co-led a course on sustainable development in Costa Rica.

Dr. Weisman serves as co-adviser for the Lehigh Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (link to site), an organization that worked on projects in Honduras and currently in Nicaragua. He is also is involved in Lehigh's Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise (link to site), specifically with the Student Associates Program. He has previously served as Lehigh's associate dean of undergraduate studies for engineering, as well as associate chair of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Fritz Hydraulics Laboratory.

Dr. Weisman earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from Cornell University.

More information on Dr. Weisman
Peter A. Weismantle ’72
Director of Supertall Building Technology, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG)
Peter A. Weismantle is responsible for overseeing the technical development of Chicago-based AS+GG’s supertall projects from concept to completion. His current undertakings include Greenland Center, a more than 600-meter tall project in Wuhan, China; Dongcun Center, a 468-meter tall tower in Chengdu, China; and the Kingdom Tower, a project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that, when completed, will be the tallest building in the world at more than 1,000 meters.

Before joining AS+GG in 2008, Weismantle was an associate partner in the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, where he began his career in 1977 and served as senior technical architect on several supertall towers, including Shanghai’s 88-story Jin Mao Tower and the 162-story Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building. He is currently the chairman of the CTBUH Height Committee, immediate past-chairman of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings (CCHRB), president of the Board of Directors of the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC), and was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2010.

Weismantle earned his B.A. degree in fine arts from Lehigh University and his M.A. degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

More information on Peter Weismantle.

Deborah Wince-Smith

Michael J. Yaszemski ’77 ’78G
John and Posy Krehbiel Endowed Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, and Director, Polymeric Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Mayo Clinic
In addition to holding faculty and director positions, Dr. Michael J. Yaszemski recently completed his term as president of the Mayo medical staff. He is a member of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees and a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general.

Yaszemski received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Lehigh University, an M.D. from Georgetown University in 1983, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995.

More information on Michael Yaszemski.

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