Lehigh University
Lehigh University
President Alice P. Gast

Speeches & Writings

Message from the President on Stabler Foundation Gift

May 3, 2012
Alice P. Gast

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am pleased to share some momentous news. Lehigh University is the recipient of one of the most generous gifts in our history, and one of the largest donations of land in recent higher education history.

The gift, which comes through the generosity of the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation, is 755 acres in Upper Saucon Township in an area roughly bordered by routes 378, 309 and 78 [http://www.lehigh.edu/stabler/map.pdf]. With this gift, Lehigh’s campuses comprise more than 2,350 acres. We are truly grateful to the trustees of the Stabler Foundation.

This transformative gift offers great potential, and allows us to imagine the possibilities that a new campus offers. It is also a demonstration of confidence in the direction and future of Lehigh. We will work with Lehigh faculty and staff to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the use of the property, which will include a combination of commercial development, residential, open space, and long-term university use.

We have established a corporate entity, LU Properties LLC, to manage the finances, maintenance, and any sales or future development of the property. Denise Blew serves as the president of LU Properties and Van Dobson, Fred McGrail and Frank Roth serve as trustees. We have engaged Tom Lussenhop, of Lussenhop & Partners, who has advised us during our due diligence process, and Jones Lang LaSalle, a national real estate asset manager with experience in higher education and in the Lehigh Valley, to assist us [http://www.lehigh.edu/stabler/lu_properties.pdf].

I have been asked about the monetary value of the property. There are a range of estimates, but I believe we should focus on the long-term potential for the university. The value to Lehigh in 20, 30 or 50 years will far transcend any estimates we make today. We have a long time horizon, and will work hard to ensure we make the best use of this land.

Donald B. Stabler ’30 always believed in Lehigh and he was a generous benefactor. During his lifetime, he was one of Lehigh’s leading benefactors and provided support for the Stabler Arena, the Mountaintop Campus and other critical initiatives. He died in 1997 and under the terms of his will, the Stabler Foundation made a gift of $34.2 million in 2008 to support scholarships for deserving students at Lehigh. More than 1,000 students have benefited from this gift as part of the Stabler Scholarship program.

Mr. Stabler also served on our Board of Trustees and as president of the Alumni Association. The gift of land from his estate, which includes an additional gift of $1 million in scholarships, extends his legacy and highlights his positive impact on the university.

This is truly an exciting time for Lehigh. We have tremendous momentum and are making a difference in the world through our teaching, research and service. We are helped immeasurably by generous benefactors such as Donald Stabler, whose belief in Lehigh helps us fulfill our important mission.

Best Regards,
Alice