I was proud to take my place among many of your sons and daughters in the Class of 2006 last month. Although unlike my fellow graduates, it took me eight years to get my degree from Lehigh University.
As I accepted my honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, I remembered back to when Jean and I first arrived on campus in 1998. Much has changed at Lehigh in the past eight years, and as I prepare to move into my new role as University Distinguished Professor, I would like to offer my deepest gratitude to what I believe is the best leadership team that I’ve seen at any institution.
By almost any measure, Lehigh’s health today is the best it’s ever been. Academic quality is also at an all-time high, with average SAT scores rising from 1245 to 1320. This fall’s incoming class will be the most diverse and competitive in Lehigh’s history. More than a third of our faculty members are new since 1998, thanks largely to the innovative Lehigh 2020 program. And 44 percent of our new professors are women. Research expenditures are up 87 percent since 1997-98. Financially, our endowment is approaching $1 billion, and the Shine Forever
campaign is already more than halfway to its goal of $500 million.
Lehigh is on firm footing, and now is the time for a transition. I feel confident that Lehigh will continue its upward momentum under the leadership of my successor, Alice Gast. And rest assured, my love affair with Lehigh is not over. One of my passions over the years has been how we can take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the forces of globalization. I’m also intrigued by the many ways that the new tools in communication technology both challenge and beckon the university to redefine how it executes its mission in society. It will be great fun to explore these issues from the Lehigh context.
For the past eight years, I have said at every opportunity: The only thing good enough for Lehigh is the best. And that certainly is true of your sons and daughters. Jean and I want to thank you for entrusting your children to this marvelous institution. We wish the best for all of Lehigh, for everyone who is
Lehigh, and we look forward to spending the coming years helping to achieve the best.
Greg and Jean Farrington
Lehigh University President’s Office