The end of the calendar year provides a perfect time for reflection on notable events, while looking ahead to new opportunities.
The Class of 2015 received a wild welcome to South Mountain thanks to Hurricane Irene’s high winds and flooding, a historic east coast earthquake, and an unprecedented October snowstorm. The latter canceled classes for three days due to wide-spread power outages and a record number of fallen trees, making on and off-campus roads treacherous.
Lehigh students continued to show their leadership by combining their problem-solving skills with acts of kindness to help each other and the greater community during this unprecedented time.
As I continue to reflect on 2011, I’d like to talk about football—both the amazing season Lehigh had and the challenges and opportunities facing intercollegiate athletic programs as a whole. We all have football on the mind for good reason!
The 147th Lehigh-Lafayette game was a regular season highlight. The Class of 2012 joined the few undefeated classes (1964, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) against The Rivalry. Congratulations! Lehigh also won the second annual Lehigh-Lafayette Giving Challenge: Lehigh 2,529, Lafayette 2,074. While we were trailing mid-week, the Lehigh family showed its pride and brought home the giving trophy, which was doubly sweet after last year’s loss by just seven points!
Alumni and students rallied behind Lehigh football as the team reached the quarterfinals in the NCAA playoffs. It was an impressive season and the best fall season against Patriot League competition in 22 years. Go Lehigh!
Moving to my next topic, intercollegiate athletics across the country are feeling the aftershocks of the Penn State controversy. The highly publicized scandal makes it easy to lose sight of the numerous benefits found within college athletic programs. In a recent Washington Post article, our own President Alice P. Gast reminds us of the ample life lessons that can be gleaned from a football team. She shares her “appreciation for student athletes, coaches and the lessons I continue to learn from them.” Read: Five things I learned from the football team.
Looking to the new calendar year and spring semester, Lehigh will continue to celebrate 40 years of female undergraduates. We also will build momentum on Reunion 2012—scheduled for Commencement Weekend, alumni will see the campus alive with activity. It’s the perfect time to connect with old friends and make new ones. There are many educational and family-friendly activities. Look for details in January. Everyone is welcome.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not ask you to please remember Lehigh in your final charitable donations for 2011. Current and future students depend on your support, and a financial gift to Lehigh is tax deductible! Visit our secure, online giving site to make a donation.
I wish you and your family a very healthy and happy holiday season.
Robert W. Wolfenden
Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations