Thank you, Greg. It has been my pleasure to work closely with you these past four years as Lehigh’s board chairman, and before that as a trustee. And I certainly look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming months—and beyond.
As you all know, Greg Farrington has brought outstanding leadership, creativity and strategic vision to Lehigh as well as an unwavering commitment to the institution, and impeccable integrity to the university. I feel we have been extremely fortunate to have someone of his caliber and ability lead Lehigh for the past eight years during this important time in the university’s evolution.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are truly grateful for his creative vision that has helped focus our academic mission and create distinctive programs that have attracted outstanding faculty, students and staff. Lehigh now enjoys a position of national prominence enjoyed by few other universities and a reputation for excellence that makes every alumnus proud of their Lehigh affiliation.
Consider for a moment some of the accomplishments that have occurred under Greg’s leadership:
• Lehigh’s bold and creative 2020 initiative was created to catalyze the intellectual vibrancy of Lehigh. This $75 million academic venture capital fund focused investment on attracting and retaining the best faculty and students, creating distinctive academic programs, funding critical research fields and stimulating cross curricular collaboration.
• The Campaign for Lehigh has generated $235 million of its $500 million goal since the campaign began. And 2004-2005 was a record year in Lehigh’s history for fundraising, with more than $68 million in campaign commitments.
• This past year, applications to attend Lehigh topped 10,500, the most in Lehigh’s history, and academic quality has increased significantly, with the median SAT scores of incoming first year students increasing 11 points each year since 1998.
• Investments in Lehigh’s historic campus have grown significantly, including the construction of Campus Square, renovations of Coppee Hall, Wilbur Power House, Grace Hall, the A. Haigh Cundey Varsity House and Linderman Library to name but a few.
• Efforts to transform Lehigh’s Greek system into an even more vital and contributing part of student life on Lehigh’s campus have ramped up with real success.
• And university partnerships with the City of Bethlehem have been strengthened, while work with state and federal governments increased to make the region a better place to live, work and learn.
I can tell you that I am confident that his legacy will be one others aspire to emulate and that history will judge that Greg has built a foundation for Lehigh to flourish for many years to come.
I think it’s also important to mention that Board Chair Emeritus and Campaign Chair Ron Ulrich and I are very confident that the campaign’s momentum will be sustained by Greg’s continued presence at Lehigh, and for that we are very appreciative.
And like all of you here, we are thrilled that Greg and Jean will continue to be part of our Lehigh community. In the coming months, we will have plenty of time to celebrate Greg’s successes and to thank him properly for all he has done for this university.
For now, please know that the board will soon begin the process of selecting a search firm and appointing a University search committee to seek a new president.
Thank you very much for being here today and have a good evening.