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Founder’s Day celebrates Lehigh’s past, present, future



Associate chemistry professor Natalie Foster, the 2008 Lindback Faculty Award winner, delivered this year’s Founder's Day address.

Most of Lehigh’s grandest ceremonies—from the annual First-Year Student/Alumni Rally to Founder’s Day to Commencement/Reunion Weekend—are opportunities for the university to simultaneously celebrate its past, its present and its future.

However, few, if any of these celebrations, will do it as vividly as the 130th annual Founder’s Day celebration, held Thursday in venerable Packer Memorial Chapel.

That’s because just minutes after putting ceremonial shovels into the ground at the groundbreaking ceremony for the STEPS building—a vital part of Lehigh’s future—the university community held its Founder’s Day ceremony to honor today’s Lehigh leaders—donors, trustees, faculty, staff and students—who continue founder Asa Packer’s commitment to quality education.

“I’m pleased that you are here to celebrate Asa Packer’s legacy and vision, which is honored by the generous donors, accomplished faculty, and students whom we will recognize today,” said Lehigh President Alice P. Gast in her welcoming remarks.

One of those accomplished faculty members, associate professor of chemistry Natalie Foster, the 2008 Lindback Faculty Award winner, delivered this year’s address during the annual ceremony that honors Lehigh’s leaders.

After thanking her colleagues who nominated her for the Lindback award, Foster delighted the audience with “Tales from the Big House” or stories from her freshman chemistry classes at Neville Hall. She drew laughs when recounting how she arrived at the “Grog index,” when a senior male economics student who wore a dress and furry slippers to class one day (Foster figures he either won or lost a fraternity bet), spoke like a caveman and referred to himself as “Grog”, and the proceeded to score a nine out of a possible 200 points on an exam.

After the laughter subsided, Foster ended on a serious note—thanking her colleagues, the staff around the university she gets to collaborate with, and lastly, the Lehigh students.

“I want to thank the Lehigh students for teaching me more than I ever thought that I could learn about myself,” Foster said.



President Alice P. Gast formally installed College of Education dean Gary M. Sasso during the Founder's Day ceremony.

Following the invocation by Chaplain Lloyd Steffen, Gast welcomed the university community, beginning with the board of trustees, whom she called the “the most direct guardians of Asa Packer’s legacy.” She first recognized the two newest members of the board—Thomas J. Healy Jr. ’85 and Debra Zajac ’97—before asking all of the trustees to rise and be applauded.

The ceremony also included:

• Formal installation of College of Education Dean Gary M. Sasso.

• Formal recognition of new administrators Joseph Kender Jr. ’87 (vice president for advancement) and Frederick McGrail (vice president for communications) and of faculty who have been promoted to full professor and to associate professor with tenure.

• Performance of Bach’s “Now let us go forward in joy and piece” by the Lehigh University choir, under the direction of Steven Sametz, the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music.

• Dedication of a new endowed chair, the Joseph R. and Amy M. Perella Chair in Accounting, and recognition of the first recipient of the new endowed chair, Gopal Krishnan.

• Special recognition of Daniel E. Smith Jr. ’71, chairman of Lehigh’s board of trustees, and the late Dorothy and Donald B. Stabler ’30, whose names will be engraved in gold on the Leadership Plaza for lifetime giving to Lehigh exceeding $10 million. In addition, Leadership Plaza donors (those whose giving to Lehigh has reached or exceeded $1 million), will be honored by having their names newly engraved on the benches outside the Alumni Memorial Building. That list includes Myer M. Alperin ’48; Frank Banko ’41; Anne and Webster A. Collins ’57; Brigitte Loewy Linz; Carl E. Petrillo ’62; Elizabeth M. and Ferdinand Thun ’56; and Linda Gamble and Michael D. Zisman ’70. Also having their names engraved on the Leadership Plaza were Clifford R. Borland ’59, who passed away in 2007, and his wife, Patricia; Charles Couch ’38, who passed away in 2006; and Robert Honeyman ’47, who passed away in 2005.

• Recognition of newly promoted/tenured faculty as well as recipients of endowed chairs, coaching positions, and professorships.

Awarded Tenure at Current Rank
Ivan Biaggio, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences; Mooi Choo Chuah, Computer Science and Engineering, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science; Gopal V. Krishnan, Accounting, College of Business and Economics.

Awarded Tenure and Promoted to Associate Professor
Arpana G. Inman, Education and Human Services, College of Education; Heather B. Johnson, Sociology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences; Deborah Laible, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences; Janet M. Laible, Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences; Clay J. Naito, Civil and Environmental Engineering, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science; Svetlana Tatic-Lucic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science; Linghai Zhang, Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences.

Promoted to Full Professor
Volkmar R. Dierolf, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences; Robin S. Dillon, Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences; Scott P. Gordon, English, College of Arts and Sciences; Mayuresh V. Kothare, Chemical Engineering, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science; Jennifer Swann, Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences; Robert J. Trent, Management, College of Business and Economics; Anthony Viscardi, Art and Architecture, College of Arts and Sciences.

Recognition of endowed chairs, coaching positions and professorships
Liuba Y. Belkin, Axelrod Family Endowed Fellowship; MJ Bishop, Class of 1961 Professor;
Jill A. Brown, Axelrod Family Endowed Fellowship; Grace Caskie, Frank Hook Assistant
Professor; John N. DuPont, Robert D. Stout Chair; Robert A. Flowers, Danser Distinguished Faculty Chair in Chemistry; David J. Hinrichs, John C.Swartley Memorial Visiting Professorship; Nevena T. Koukova, Charlotte and Robert L. Brown III ’78 Endowed Summer Research Fellow; Gopal V. Krishnan, Joseph R.and Amy M. Perella Chair in Accounting; Hector Munoz-Avila, Class of 1961 Professor; Kathleen K. Olson, Class of 1961 Professor; Stephen C. Peters, Frank Hook Assistant Professor; Michael D. Santoro, James T. Kane Professor; Patrick J. Santoro, Lawrence E. White ’64 Head Coach of Wrestling; Tamás Terlaky, Soteria and George N. Kledaras ’87 Endowed Faculty Chair in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science; Alexander W. Wiseman, Class of 1961 Professor; and Tae Sup Yun, P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering.

• Installation of student class presidents for the Classes of 2008-2011, the newly elected members of the student senate, the graduate student senate and the Association of Student Alumni by Provost Mohamed El-Aasser.

• The benediction, by Seth Goren, director of the Hillel Society.

--Bill Doherty

Photos by Theo Anderson

Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2008

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