At the conclusion of the Founder’s Day ceremony on Oct. 15, Lehigh dedicated a new walkway leading up to the entrance to Linderman Library, and honored the generosity of donors Jack ’81 and Dawn ‘82 Vresics.
The refurbishing of Library Drive was part of the original plans for the Linderman Library renovation project and also part of the university’s overall vision of creating additional walkways and green spaces throughout campus. The walkway was designed to be used not only as a pedestrian thoroughfare, but also as a spot for casual interaction.
"Lehigh has been a very important part of our family’s lives," said Jack Vresics. "I met Dawn here, we were married here, and many of our family members, including our son (Michael ’12), have worked and attended school here.
"We grew up in Bethlehem and Lehigh is like home to us. We want to ensure that it remains a beautiful, inspirational place. We benefited from the contributions of others to the university, so we felt it was important to continue that legacy."
The gently undulating walkway leads up to Linderman Library and positions the stone landmark, which underwent a major renovation from 2005 to 2007, as a focal point of the university’s Asa Packer Campus. The walk also replaces the parking lot that formerly connected the library to University Drive, adjacent to the President’s house.
Embodying the Lehigh spirit
Speaking on behalf of the university at the dedication ceremony, President Alice P. Gast thanked the Vresics for their generosity in funding the project.
"The fact that we dedicate the Vresics Library Drive Walkway on Founder’s Day is very fitting," Gast said. "Its benefactors, Dawn and Jack Vresics, truly embody the Lehigh spirit forged by our founder, Asa Packer. And, as I said moments ago in the church, Asa Packer envisioned a campus that was like a park with 'gems' for buildings. We have a park and pathway leading us to our 'gems' in the Vresics walkway.
"Our university has had many caretakers through the years … leaders that have shared a vision for a truly pedestrian campus. Through Dawn and Jack’s generosity, the Vresics Library Drive Walkway completes this vision … linking the campus and elevating Linderman Library as the gem that it is meant to be."
The Vresics’ gift, combined with a recent gift by Board of Trustees’ member Brad Scheler '74 and his wife, Amy, to name the Humanities Forum, completes the Linderman Library campaign goal of $10 million. It also moves the Shine Forever Campaign, which currently stands at $490 million raised, closer to its $500 million goal.
"This walkway is the capstone to the wonderful restoration of Linderman Library," Gast said. "Thanks to all of our generous donors, this grand building will remain a valuable and vibrant resource for generations of Lehigh students to come."
Linderman Library was built in 1877 and given to Lehigh by the university's founder, Asa Packer, as a memorial to Packer's daughter, Lucy Packer Linderman.
Photos by Theo Anderson