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Bridging the generations in San Francisco

Current and incoming students recently joined alumni from various decades to celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary. You might ask, “What does that have to do with Lehigh?”

Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began on January 5, 1933. Much of the steel for the world-famous span came from Bethlehem, and the four-year construction project was carried out by McClintic-Marshall Construction Co., a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation that was founded by Howard H. McClintic and Charles D. Marshall – both Lehigh Class of 1888.

The anniversary celebration was hosted by the Lehigh Club of San Francisco. Those who attended enjoyed picturesque views of the iconic bridge from the St. Francis Yacht Club. The evening featured a presentation by Mark Sarkisian ‘85G on “The impact of the Golden Gate Bridge on innovative design and construction, as well as its connection to the university and Bethlehem.” Mark is structural engineering partner at the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM).

Mark was joined by Quentin L. Kopp, a former California state senator and retired San Mateo County Superior Court judge. Although not an alumnus, Judge Kopp has a passion for Lehigh. It was through his membership that our event was held at the exclusive St. Francis Yacht Club. Judge Kopp spoke to attendees about the bridge’s importance to California then, now and in the future.

The Associated Press recently wrote, “The Golden Gate Bridge is turning 75 this year. And what a historic span it’s been: Big, bold and orange, the bridge is a beloved symbol of San Francisco and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.”

You may remember that our residence hall McClintic-Marshall, often referred to as M&M, honors the two 1888 classmates for their many engineering contributions. McClintic and Marshall also built the George Washington Bridge, the Waldorf Astoria and the Panama Canal.

The Golden Gate Bridge continues to mean so much for so many, and our celebratory event was a wonderful reminder of how Lehigh alumni accomplish great things that positively influence society every day.

Go Lehigh!

Robert W. Wolfenden
Assistant vice president for alumni relations

July 2012

Story by Kurt Pfitzer

Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012

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