Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Founder’s Day celebrates Packer’s vision

Michael Kolchin delivers the Founder's Day address at Packer Memorial Church.

Lehigh University continues to live up to the vision of founder Asa Packer “to improve the intellectual and moral development of our students,” Michael G. Kolchin, professor of management and associate dean for graduate studies, told his colleagues in the annual Founder’s Day address Thursday.

Kolchin, winner of this year’s Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Faculty Award for distinguished teaching, delivered this year’s address during the annual ceremony at Packer Memorial Church that honors Lehigh’s leaders.

“We care about our students!” Kolchin said. “We are available to our students, not only for help in their studies, but for discussions about life and what happens after Lehigh. We attempt to stimulate their intellectual curiosity and challenge them to become better world citizens. And, we maintain a relationship with our students after they graduate from Lehigh. They are no longer our students but are now our friends and colleagues.”

Kolchin noted how long many of Lehigh’s faculty have taught at the university, quipping, “In some respects, I am a newcomer having only been at Lehigh for 28 years.

“This longevity suggests that to many faculty members teaching at Lehigh is not only a vocation, but an avocation as well,” Kolchin said. “Simply put, a great many of us truly enjoy teaching and shaping the young minds that are placed in our charge. I know for me personally, walking into the classroom is a privilege and a joy that not many other professionals get a chance to experience. Even on my worst days, being in the classroom makes everything seem better.”

His colleagues greeted Kolchin’s address with warm applause, as he concluded by thanking them for “the great honor they have bestowed upon me today. It is truly one of the great moments of my Lehigh career.”

Following the invocation by Chaplain Lloyd Steffen, President Alice P. Gast welcomed the university community, and presented a walking stick “much like the one Asa Packer carried” to new Lehigh Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel E. Smith Jr. ’71.

The Lehigh University Choir performs "Desh," a piece that combined Tibetan and Indian traditions.

The ceremony also included:

• Formal installation of College of Business and Economics Dean Paul Brown.

• Performance of the Tibetan piece “Desh” by the Lehigh University choir, under the direction of Steven Sametz, the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music. The selection combined Tibetan and Indian traditions, and was part of a year-long academic and arts focus on Tibet in anticipation of the July 2008 visit by the 14th Dalai Lama.

• Dedication of a new endowed chair, the Helene and Allen Apter ’61 Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values, and new endowed coaching position, the Smith Family Men’s Lacrosse Coach.

• Recognition of the recipients of endowed chairs, coaching positions, and professorships. Receiving recognition were: Eugene O. Albulescu, associate professor of music, named the Ronald J. Ulrich Chair in Orchestral and String Music; Kevin A. Cassese, named the first Smith Family Men’s Lacrosse Coach; Reetika Gupta, assistant professor of marketing, awarded the Alison and Norman H. Axelrod ’74 Endowed Summer Research Fellowship; James F. Gilchrist, named a P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering; Paul N. Gordon, professor of practice in accounting, awarded the John C. Swartley Jr. Memorial Visiting Professorship; Kashi K. Johnson, associate professor of theater, named a Class of 1961 Professor; Richard J. Kish, professor of finance, named the Allen C. DuBois Distinguished Professor; Elizabeth B. Meltzer, named the Steven J. ’69 and Karen A. Lee Head Rowing Coach; Joanna B. Michlic, appointed the first Helene and Allen Apter ’61 Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values; Ziad W. Munson, assistant professor of sociology, named a Frank Hook Assistant Professor; Brian K. Pinaire, assistant professor of political science, named a Frank Hook Assistant Professor; Brett Reed, named the Murray H. Goodman ’48 Head Men‘s Basketball Coach; Catherine M. Ridings, assistant professor of business information systems, named a Class of 1961 Professor; Nelson Tansu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, named a P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor; and Robert J. Trent, supply chain management program director and the Eugene Mercy Associate Professor of Management, named the George N. Beckwith ’32 Professor.

• Special recognition of Louis “Luke” Weinstock '36, whose name will be engraved in gold on the Leadership Plaza, because his lifetime giving to Lehigh has exceeded $10 million. In addition, Leadership Plaza donors (those whose giving to Lehigh has reached/exceeded $1 million), will be honored by having their names newly engraved. That list includes Lee Butz '55, Greg Butz '79, William Hecht '64, John Cable '45, and six donors who are deceased—Elizabeth and Blair Deale '35, Lillian and Harry Eisenhart 1903, Glenn Gibson '35, and Joseph Stone '36.

• Formal recognition of new administrators J. Leon Washington (dean of admissions and financial aid) and Peter M. Gilbert (chief investment officer) and of faculty who have been promoted to full professor and to associate professor with tenure.

• Installation of student class presidents for the Classes of 2008-2011, the newly elected members of the student senate, the graduate student council and the Association of Student Alumni.

• The benediction, by Muhammad Razavi ’10, president of the Muslim Student Association.

--Jack Croft

Photos by Theo Anderson

Posted on Friday, October 12, 2007

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