You know Dravo, Taylor and M&M? Now they’ll be joined by Hitch and Maida. Two members of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees have each committed $5 million to support the New Residential Houses project.
Jordan Hitch ’88 ’20P ’21P, with his wife Julie ’20P ’21P, and James Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P, with his wife Sharon ’17P ’19P, are providing for future generations of Lehigh scholars through leadership gifts aimed to elevate the student living and learning experience. In recognition for their generosity, two of the three houses in phase one of the two-phase project will be named Hitch House and Maida House, and will be available to students starting fall 2020. Phase two will begin construction following the completion of phase one.
Increasing undergraduate enrollment by 1,000 during the next decade and providing the resources, support, and facilities students need to excel are top priorities defined by the university’s Path to Prominence plan. This vision for Lehigh’s future is being made possible by GO: The Campaign for Lehigh, an ambitious $1 billion-plus fundraising and engagement campaign that launched in October.
“It will be through the exemplary leadership and commitment of many that Lehigh will achieve its goals in becoming a top-tier research institution,” said President John D. Simon ’19P. “We very much appreciate the Hitch and Maida families and James and Jordan in particular, as both Trustees and campaign co-chairs, for investing in Lehigh at a critical time of expansion. Their support, and those of others, will allow us to attract the best students, develop new facilities and programs and expand ground-breaking research.”
The New Residential Houses will not only provide students with state-of-the-art living spaces, but also offer a new fitness center, 250-seat multipurpose room, café and a variety of other multi-use spaces that benefit the entire campus community.
“Lehigh is all about the student experience—that was key to my time here,” said Jordan. “The university is experiencing an exciting era of growth and so now is the time for alumni to get engaged and support its initiatives. As Lehigh parents, Julie and I want our engagement to strengthen the way students live and learn.”
Jordan and Julie’s philanthropy has previously supported scholarship and financial aid, the Africana Studies program and the Lehigh Fund. They are the parents of Emma, Charlie ’20, Tyler ’21 and Lily.
Part of a three-generation Lehigh family, the Maidas are continuing the long-standing tradition of supporting the university. James and Sharon have launched numerous initiatives to benefit Lehigh students, including a scholarship fund and international internship fund. They also helped transform historic Williams Hall into the university’s global hub with the Sharon O. Maida and James R. Maida Family Terrace. Sharon and James are the parents of Nicholas, Lindsay, Lauren ’17 and Alexis ’19.
“It is important to give back through volunteerism and philanthropy,” said James. “Sharon and I want to ensure that future generations will receive the same great education and opportunities that our daughters, my father, my siblings and I received while at Lehigh. It is what others did before us and that we have the obligation and honor to do now.”
Lehigh hopes to soon announce another donor gift to name a third house.
Story by Dawn Thren ’21P