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Lehigh alumni are smart folks.

So if any of you live in the San Francisco area, I bet your houses are built to withstand an earthquake. Makes sense, doesn't it? You're not going to experience tremors every day or anything—you wouldn't live there if you did—but you're smart. You know that, sooner or later, your house will need to hold up to some rumbling, and you have planned appropriately.

Well, it looks like the needle is twitching on the financial seismograph. We're headed for a couple tremors. And in times that seem in many ways uncertain, I want to assure you: Lehigh's foundation is as solid as they come.

Our assets have been managed prudently. Our balance sheet is solid. Our debt is manageable, and we are in a strong position to stay the course. We will be moving forward with the STEPS initiative, and we will maintain our commitment to funding financial aid for all Lehigh students who need it, present and future.

That's not to say that we won't feel a shake or two. We'll be nailing down the furniture and wrapping the crystal in bubble wrap (to extend the metaphor). By which I mean, both the university and the Alumni Association will be looking for opportunities to trim expenses with a minimum of impact on our programs and services, and we'll be prudent about undertaking new initiatives. We will continue to be responsible stewards to Lehigh's best long-term interests.

We understand that this will be a time of great uncertainty for all of you, as well, in one way or another. We'll all feel the personal impact of the financial crisis.

But as I said before, Lehigh alumni are some pretty bright folks. I am optimistic that most of you have been able to position yourselves to ride out the quakes in relative safety—not without some adjustments, certainly, but ultimately in good shape.

For those who could use a little assistance with the transition, the professionals in our Career Solutions program offer a wealth of resources, from job-searching web seminars and nationwide networking opportunities, to one-on-one career coaching sessions. This financial crisis could very well prove to be a golden opportunity. Explore your options—and your potential!

We're more than optimistic about Lehigh's outlook. But we remain reliant—as we always are—on the support of our loyal alumni. Now, more than ever, the world needs Lehigh University. We have positioned ourselves to help produce the world's innovators and problem-solvers—the great minds of this generation and the next, who will see us through the present challenges and into an ever-brighter future.

If you are in a position to do so, we ask that you continue to support the great work of the university. An investment in Lehigh is one of the soundest investments you can make—certain to return dividends, as the next generation of Lehigh alumni takes the lead.

We here in the alumni office will continue to hope the best for all of you, and to work to foster mutual support among all of our alumni.

Bob Wolfenden
Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations


Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008

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