Greg and Jean Farrington
As the fall semester comes to a close, the pace has become even livelier. Visions of term papers and final exams fill students’ heads, but they know that the holidays and home await them just around the corner. So let us take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a joyous holiday season.
As you prepare to welcome home your sons and daughters, we’d like to share with you some of what we all at Lehigh have been doing to make life at the university even more stimulating.
We place great emphasis on working constantly to improve the classroom academic experience of our students, and for good reason. They deserve the best education we can possibly offer. But we also understand the importance of enriching student life, because learning occurs at 2 a.m. as well as 2 p.m., and over pizza as well as in the seminar room.
Last year, the Task Force on Greek Life was created to study how Greek life was functioning on campus. The task force did a great job of putting together a creative plan to revitalize this key aspect of undergraduate life. This year, we are implementing their proposals with the goal of achieving a strong and healthy Greek community at Lehigh. Greek chapters can make an enormously positive contribution to student life on campus. But it's not easy, and high standards must apply. My charge to Greek houses is simple: “Be great or be gone, and we'll help you be great.”
Of course, improving the Greek system will enhance the Lehigh experience for some students, but not the majority. Therefore, we are embarking on a comprehensive examination of all aspects of student life – to learn what we do well and what we could do even better—so stay tuned as we will be reporting back to you.
It is precisely because student life is so vitally important to our mission here that Ron Yoshida has assumed the position of Senior Vice President for External Relations and Campus Life. In this key new role, Ron will have responsibility for the critically important areas of Student Life, Admissions and Financial Aid, and Institutional Research, and also a close working relationship with Alumni Affairs. Ron is a natural with students and alumni—and obviously he has a broad understanding of Lehigh's academic and campus life. His success as provost—in which he led in implementing the 2020 initiative, in restoring our finances, in hiring dozens of outstanding faculty, and in countless interactions with students and alumni—make him ideal for his new portfolio and we are very pleased that he will be leading it.
In addition, Ron will take on a major external role in Shine Forever
, the recently launched Campaign for Lehigh. He will work closely with the advancement staff and meet with alumni and friends of Lehigh while serving as a major external spokesman as the campaign accelerates.
This change in leadership created a vacancy in the position of provost and so it’s equally exciting to announce that Mohamed El-Aasser, professor and dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, has assumed the role of provost, where he will focus on Lehigh’s academic and intellectual life. (For an article on the recent reorganization, click here
Over the course of the next year or so, we also will be making a number of important investments in the Lehigh campus. The renovation of Linderman Library is scheduled to begin after the spring semester as we transform this beautiful 19th century building into a 21st century state-of-the-art 19th century building and a center for the humanities. We also expect to begin renovations to Lamberton Hall in January to provide additional space for student activities and a student diner that will offer such healthy treats as cheese steaks, large hamburgers, and French fries.
From the classrooms to the residences, from the libraries to the athletic fields, and from the fraternities and sororities to the dining halls, we are working to make Lehigh even better. Because nothing but the best is good enough for Lehigh.
Greg and Jean Farrington
Lehigh University President’s Office