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Farrington stepping down as president

Greg Farrington has been Lehigh president since 1998.

Greg Farrington announced Friday that he is stepping down as Lehigh University’s 12th president at the end of the current academic year in June, but will stay on as Distinguished University Service Professor.

“One of the greatest challenges and opportunities a president and a board of trustees must face is knowing when to pass the baton of leadership,” Farrington said in an announcement at the end of his annual State of the University address. “After a great deal of contemplation and discussions with trusted and thoughtful members of the campus community, I believe that time has come.”

(For the complete text of Farrington’s remarks regarding the transition, click here.)

Farrington, who was named president in May 1998, will stay on at Lehigh as Distinguished University Service Professor after he steps down. Chairman James Tanenbaum attended the announcement and offered praise for Farrington’s achievements.

“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,” Tanenbaum said. “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.

“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,” he said.

“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.

(For the complete text of Tanenbaum’s remarks regarding the transition, click here.)

In his remarks to university faculty and staff, Farrington said: “Please remember the favorite saying of mine: The only thing good enough for Lehigh is the best. Thank you for giving your best. I have proudly given you mine.”

In his new role, Farrington will focus on two areas that were hallmarks of his tenure: Shine Forever: The Campaign for Lehigh and the expansion of Lehigh’s international presence.

Tanenbaum expressed confidence about the campaign, which after the first year of its public phase has already raised more than $235 million of its $500 million goal to endow faculty chairs, scholarships, academic programs, and facilities.

"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,” Tanenbaum said.

During Farrington’s tenure, Lehigh made significant progress in many areas, including:

• Academic Renaissance. Farrington established Lehigh’s bold and creative 2020 initiative to catalyze the intellectual vibrancy of Lehigh. Launched in October 2000, the $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. New programs created through the 2020 program include those in bioscience, bioengineering, applied life science, computer science and engineering, information systems and engineering, and bioeconomics, as well as bio business, international education, design arts, ArtsLehigh, and the Humanities Center.

• Fundraising. Shine Forever: The Campaign for Lehigh has generated $235 million of its $500 million goal since the campaign began. 2004-2005 was a record year in Lehigh’s history for fundraising, with more than $68 million in campaign commitments.

• Undergraduate student recruitment. 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.

• Campus Enhancements and Restoration. Farrington has led investments in Lehigh’s historic campus including the construction of Campus Square, renovations of Coppee Hall, Wilbur Power House, Grace Hall, and the A. Haigh Cundey Varsity House and Linderman Library, to name but a few.

• Student Life. Under the guiding principle of “be great or be gone,” Farrington spearheaded efforts to transform Lehigh’s Greek system into an even more vital and contributing part of student life on Lehigh’s campus.

• Regional Partnerships. Farrington strengthened university partnerships with the City of Bethlehem, building Campus Square as a gateway to the South Side. While working with state and federal governments to make the region a better place to live, work and learn, he has strengthened the university and spurred regional economic development.

Farrington’s wife, Jean, will continue her work on the Linderman renovation project and both look forward to the library’s reopening in January 2007.

Before coming to Lehigh, Farrington was dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He earned his Ph. D. from Harvard University in chemistry in 1972, and began his career as a chemist that same year when he joined the General Electric Company as a staff scientist. He joined Penn’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 1979.

He holds or shares more than two dozen patents and has written or edited several books and book chapters in his field, as well as more than 100 technical publications.

Lehigh’s Board of Trustees will soon begin the process to recruit a new president.


--Jack Croft

Posted on Friday, October 07, 2005

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