Looking back over her very successful career, Elizabeth “Liz” Edmiston Padgett credits a Lehigh alumnus who spoke to her undergraduate class with how she got her start.
“He opened a door for me at Bloomingdale’s, and they eventually hired me into their Executive Training Program,” says Liz, who has since worked for such high-end retailers as Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Victoria’s Secret, and GAP, and is now the senior vice president of global merchandising at Calvin Klein Jeans.
Liz has kept Lehigh close to her heart and active in her life since childhood, when her mother and grandfather both worked at the university. An Asa Packer and Tower Society member with her husband, Jordan, she attends university events such as Lehigh Summit, supports the Lehigh Fund, and hosts special gatherings including the recent Naples, Florida, Tower Society and Asa Packer luncheon.
"I have always been enriched by the experiences that I have had through Lehigh, and I often get more out of it than I put in," she says.
In honor of her grandfather, who was the director of counseling services at Lehigh for 20 years, she established the Dr. Andrew J. Edmiston Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to students in the Lehigh Valley for study abroad. Liz, who studied in both Ghana and Guatemala while at Lehigh, wants to give the same opportunity to other students.
“Everyone needs someone to help them get their start, so if you can be that catalyst for someone, why wouldn’t you want to be?” she says. “Lehigh has given back to me more than I could ever have imagined.”
In May 2013, Liz received Lehigh’s highest alumni honor, the Alumni Award, for her service, loyalty, and dedication to the university.