Founder’s Day is a rare opportunity for Lehigh University to simultaneously honor its past, celebrate its present and recognize those who will shape its bright future.
At 4:10 p.m. on Oct. 22 in venerable Packer Memorial Church, the university’s 132nd annual Founder’s Day celebration will honor today’s Lehigh leaders—donors, trustees, faculty, staff and students—who continue founder Asa Packer’s commitment to quality education.
Karl Brisseaux ’11, who hails from Spring Valley, N.Y., but has roots in Haiti, will give the keynote address at the Founder’s Day ceremony. An applied science major with a concentration in mechanical engineering, Brisseaux has blossomed into a real student leader during his four years at Lehigh, as evidenced by his involvement in a myriad of activities on campus.
Brisseaux currently serves as president of the Omicron Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., editor-in-chief of The Brown and Black student-run magazine dedicated to social justice issues, a “Break the Silence” sexual violence peer educator, and Head Gryphon for Warren Square and ROTC. After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti last January, Brisseaux, who has relatives living in Haiti, partnered with Lehigh’s Community Service Office to raise more than $16,000 for the victims.
“He shows significant character, maturity, and works very hard to influence others, and impact this campus in a positive way,” says Sharon Basso, Lehigh’s associate vice provost and dean of students. “He is an intelligent, effective, compassionate, transformational leader. But more importantly, he has much more than one person’s fair share of integrity. He personifies the very best of what it means to be a Lehigh student and he is an excellent choice to speak at Founder's Day.”
In addition to Brisseaux’s speech, the Founder’s Day ceremony will also include the formal installation of the presidents of Classes of 2011-14 and recognition of other student leaders, formal recognition of new administrators Alan V. Snyder (vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies), Vincent Munley (deputy provost for faculty affairs) and Jerry Lennon (deputy provost for academic affairs), and of faculty who have been promoted to full professor and to associate professor with tenure.
There will also be special recognition of the new Leadership Plaza donors—those who will have their names etched in the benches outside the Alumni Memorial Building because their giving to Lehigh has reached or exceeded $1 million: Lynn and George Bovenizer ’63, ’64G, ’90P,’93P; Judy and Donald M. Gruhn ’49; Gay and Douglas Lane ’67; Elizabeth A. Leach; Elizabeth and Robert S. Nanovic ’60G; Joan F. and John M. Thalheimer ’55; and Kenneth Woodcock ’65.
Bringing back a tradition of fun
To get the campus community properly revved up for Founder’s Day as well as for Homecoming Weekend, a series of events will be held during the week on Lehigh’s campus.
Founder’s Week events range from an Olympic-type competition pitting Lehigh sophomores vs. first-year students to an “Are You Smarter than a Mountain Hawk” trivia game to the annual Founder’s Day celebration on Oct. 22, immediately followed by a Friday pep rally at the newly opened STEPS Building to get the entire campus community pumped up for Saturday’s game against Bucknell.
“The first (and subsequent) Founder's Day was a campus-wide celebration that included a formal ceremony, surrounded by fun events and competitions,” says Nancy Merritt ’04,’05G, Lehigh’s director of Student & Young Alumni Programs. “We wanted to bring that tradition back. We also wanted to educate the current community on Lehigh's rich history. It's not just about Asa Packer, it's about everyone else that followed and has made Lehigh what it is today.”
Here’s a list of Lehigh’s 2010 Founder’s Week activities with a brief description of each one:
Thank you booths
Current Lehigh students can submit written comments about their favorite Lehigh moments and what they are thankful for at Lehigh University at various campus locations or can record video “thank you” messages.
Dates: Monday, Oct. 18-Friday, Oct. 22
Location: Various locations around campus
Brown bag lunch on Lehigh’s history
Please join Ilhan Citak, an archives and special collections librarian at Lehigh, for a brown bag lunch presentation on the legacy of Lehigh’s founder, Asa Packer. A film about Asa Packer will be shown and Packer memorabilia will be displayed.
Time: noon-1 p.m.
Date: Monday, Oct. 18
Location: Scheler Family Humanities Forum, Linderman 200
“Are You Smarter than a Mountain Hawk” trivia game
Based on the Fox hit television show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader,” Lehigh’s Class of 2012 will roam around campus with trivia questions designed to test your Lehigh knowledge.
Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Date: Tuesday. Oct. 19
Location: Asa Packer Campus
Sophomores vs. First Years competition
Lehigh’s Class of 2013 will do battle against members of the Class of 2014 in a series of events ranging from tug-of-war to water balloon tosses.
Time: 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 20
Location: STEPS Lawn
Founder’s Day ceremony
The 132nd annual Founder’s Day celebration will honor today’s Lehigh leaders—donors, trustees, faculty, staff and students—who continue founder Asa Packer’s commitment to quality education. Karl Brisseaux ’11 will give the keynote address and free Founder’s Day T-shirts will be distributed to students who attend the ceremony.
Time: 4:10 p.m.
Date: Friday, Oct. 22
Location: Packer Memorial Church
Homecoming pep rally
Get pumped up for Saturday’s Homecoming football game against Bucknell with a pep rally featuring free food and refreshments, the Marching 97, the Lehigh cheerleaders and Lehigh’s mascot, Clutch.
Time: 5:10 p.m.
Date: Friday, Oct. 22
Location: STEPS Building