Year in Review 2019 images

2019: Year in Review

Here’s a look back at the biggest Lehigh stories of the year.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

2019 marked a year of significant growth at Lehigh. The university broke ground on its new Health, Science and Technology Building, while the Singleton, Maida and Hitch residential houses took shape on University Drive. SouthSide Commons opened and an inaugural dean was named for the College of Health. The Lehigh community also said good-bye to a beloved alum and international figure, Lee Iacocca. As the year comes to a close, here is a look at the five biggest stories of 2019.

1. Lehigh breaks ground on new Health, Science & Technology building, the future home of the College of Health.

Groundbreaking for HST Building

Dignitaries ceremonially break ground on the new Health, Science and Technology Building, the future home of the College of Health. From left are Vice President for Finance and Administration Patricia A. Johnson, Provost Pat Farrell, Lehigh Board Chair Kevin L. Clayton '84 '13P, President John D. Simon '19P, Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez, College of Health Inaugural Dean Whitney Witt and Associate Vice President of Facilities and University Architect Brent Stringfellow.

On Founder’s Weekend, the Lehigh community gathered to celebrate the formal groundbreaking for the new Health, Science, and Technology Building, which is scheduled to open in 2021. The building will serve as the future home of the College of Health, support innovative research across the university and open up new collaborations between Lehigh and the South Bethlehem community.

2. Three $5 million gifts support new Hitch, Maida and Singleton houses.

Singleton, Maida and Hitch houses

Artist's rendering of the, from left, new Singleton, Maida and Hitch houses

Supporting Lehigh’s Path to Prominence plan to expand the student body and to elevate the student living and learning experience, three $5 million gifts have been given by Julie ’20P ’21P and Jordan Hitch ’88 ’20P ’21P, Sharon ’17P ’19P and James Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P, and Charlot and Dennis Singleton ’66. Construction is well underway on Phase I of the six new residential houses that will integrate academic and student life in a way that no other residence hall on campus has done before. The Hitch House, Maida House and Singleton House will be available to students starting Fall 2020.

Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca ’45 died July 2, 2019.

Lido Anthony Iacocca ’45 died July 2, leaving behind a legacy of entrepreneurship, innovation, philanthropy and unwavering dedication to Lehigh. He was considered one of the best CEOs of all time. In the 1960s at Ford, he was the driving force behind the iconic Mustang. He is also well-known for his turnaround of the Chrysler Corporation in the late ’70s and ’80s.

Whitney Witt

Whitney Witt is the inaugural dean of the College of Health.

After an extensive global search, Lehigh appointed Whitney Witt, who served as the director of the Center for Maternal and Child Health Research at IBM Watson Health in North Carolina, as the inaugural dean of Lehigh’s new College of Health. She is overseeing the continued development and eventual launch of the new college, which is both a critical element of Lehigh’s Path to Prominence strategic plan and a core funding initiative for GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. She is leading critically important efforts to recruit top faculty, procure industry partnerships, develop curriculum and prepare for the formal opening of the college in Fall 2020.

SouthSide Commons ribbon cutting

At the SouthSide Commons ribbon-cutting, from left, are Julie Skolnicki, senior managing director of Greystar Collegiate Housing; Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez; Tom Trubiana, executive director of Greystar Collegiate Housing; Lehigh Trustee Anne R. Kline ’81; and Patricia A. Johnson, vice president for finance and administration at Lehigh.

SouthSide Commons, a new five-story student living facility at Brodhead and Packer avenues, officially opened, marking an important milestone along Lehigh’s Path to Prominence. The comprehensive apartment-style living unit houses 428 students and provides various amenities including a fitness center, study and recreation rooms, and an outdoor recreation area. It also enhances Lehigh’s connection with the surrounding Bethlehem community.

Dawn Thren ’21P and Tabitha Nowak ’23 contributed to this report.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

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