2021 in Photos

2021 in Photos

Revisit some of the biggest Lehigh moments and best photos of 2021.

Photography by

Christa Neu

This past year was an important year for Lehigh and the top headlines included the university welcoming a new president, Joseph J. Helble ’82, and breaking ground on a new College of Business building. But much of 2021 was also spent getting back to the Lehigh we love after the pandemic drastically altered life on campus. Students fully returned to South Bethlehem, in-person Commencement ceremonies were held and research teams not only continued on-campus work, but resumed trips as well. Fans also returned to cheer on Lehigh’s athletic teams and saw Lehigh beat Lafayette in the 157th edition of The Rivalry. As we wrap up 2021, here are some of the year's best images, which captured life at Lehigh the past 12 months.


Mikayla Spott, Serena Walker Jean and Nazr-El Scari

In-person Commencement Returns. From left, Mikayla Spott, Serena Walker Jean and Nazr-El Scari leap in their caps and gowns. After only virtual ceremonies in 2020 due to the pandemic, Lehigh marked its 153rd Commencement weekend in May with in-person ceremonies over three days for the Classes of 2021 and 2020.


Georgette Chapman Phillips

New College of Business Building. Lehigh broke ground on the new College of Business building, which will rise on Packer Avenue between Taylor and Webster streets. The new three-story, four-floor structure is expected to open in Fall 2022. Above, Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business, stands on the site of the new building prior to construction beginning.


Adrian Suarez

Getting Back to the Lehigh We Love. With vaccines fully available to everyone 18 and older, students fully returned to campus in 2021. Adrian Suarez '22 missed playing sports and attending live events and helped plan "Lehigh Strong: A COVID Relief Variety Show" to give back to the local community.


Gene Hartzell Memorial Bridge

AI Bridge Maintenance. Lehigh students worked with Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Shamim Pakzad to measure vibrations of traffic going over the Gene Hartzell Memorial Bridge, connecting Route 33 and Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania. The student research team collected data from fixed and mobile sensors to build and train an artificial intelligence model for bridge maintenance and management. It was one of many ongoing student research projects throughout the year.


Cam Ulm '24

Mountaintop Projects. Cam Ulm' 24 works on NeuroSalon, one of 40 interdisciplinary Mountaintop projects where students, faculty and partners came together to take new intellectual, creative and/or artistic pathways that lead to transformative new innovations, new expressions and new questions. The dream of this project is to build a bridge between brain sciences and the arts, and encourage stimulating, thought-provoking and consistent dialogue between them.



GRO Mushrooms. Another Mountaintop project, Gro Mushrooms strives to improve local food security, reduce malnutrition and augment livelihoods by designing a commercial mushroom production ecosystem in Sierra Leone.


Students on tire rope swings

LUSSI. The Lehigh University Student Scholars Institute (LUSSI) is a Lehigh Student Access and Success program that strives to cultivate a sense of community, belonging and empowerment of first generation and under-represented first-year students. LUSSI welcomed its biggest class to date in 2021.


Students on the UC Lawn

Orientation Weekend. Students gathered on the Clayton University Center lawn for the student orientation kick off. Orientation activities were held Thursday through Sunday and included a variety of events, such as orientation meetings, Lehigh 5x10 symposiums and Faux Friday, where students can explore restaurants and shops in South Bethlehem with activities on the Greenway.


Lehigh's mascot Clutch at The Rally

The Rally. The annual event took on special significance when Lehigh’s first-ever coed class, the Class of 1975, adopted the incoming Class of 2025 in an hour-long ceremony on the Clayton University Center lawn. It also marked the first time in the long-standing tradition that a woman alum, Karen L. Stuckey '75, represented a class at the ceremony. Stuckey presented Ethan Riester ’25 with both the Class of 2025 flag and a silver cup given to her class 50 years earlier by the Class of 1925.


Stunt jump with student

Fall Semester Kick Off. One of orientation weekend’s biggest events, held on the Clayton University Center lawn, was “Do it for the ‘Gram!” presented by Lehigh After Dark. The three-hour event featured a stunt jump and human bowling, among other activities.



Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble '82

Presidential Inauguration. Joseph J. Helble ’82 was inaugurated as Lehigh’s 15th president in a joyous ceremony under Lehigh’s Tamerler Courtyard Tent in which he outlined “the Lehigh promise” to expand signature interdisciplinary programs, create new interdisciplinary programs and make key elements of the business, engineering and arts and sciences colleges available to all undergraduates. Helble, with his family in attendance, including his 89-year-old mother, wife, three children, sisters, brother-in-law and son-in-law, spoke about the opportunity to shape the university that helped shape him.


Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble '82 meets student EMT club

Helble's First Day. Joseph J. Helble '82 had a busy official first day as Lehigh's new president. His day included speaking at the new faculty orientation, visiting his first dorm room from when he was a student and welcoming international students to campus. Here, Helble met with Lehigh's EMS students.


Emily Schmidt flying glider airplane

Silent Owl Flight Research. Among the research conducted at Lehigh this year was a team flying and testing owl-inspired glider airplanes at Goodman Campus as part of their research with STEM-SI. Emily Schmidt '24 was one member of the team who tested the glider airplanes this fall.


Lehigh’s Sickle Cell Anemia Diagnostic Device team

NIH Award. Lehigh’s Sickle Cell Anemia Diagnostic Device team won the National Institutes of Health’s Healthcare Technologies for Low-Resource Settings Prize in the 2021 Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge. The prize of $15,000 was split evenly among the team.


Professor Patrick Zoro

Beam Signing. Patrick Zoro, professor of practice in the Perella Department of Finance, signs a beam that will join 468 tons of structural steel comprising the expanded College of Business. More than 1,500 signed the beam for the new College of Business building, which is scheduled to open in Fall 2022.


Students at Island Beach State Park

Research Trip. Frank Pazzaglia, professor of geology, took his class on a Earth and Environmental Science research trip to Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. The students were engaged in a geomorphologic, sedimentologic and ecologic survey of the beach, dunes and salt marsh. Students have been collecting a data set in the same cross-island location for the past 20 years, and through this process, can document changes in the size, shape, slope and vegetation of the island driven by sea level rise and storms, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


Nix Huang

Lehigh Launch. Nix Huang '25 is one of a number of students who took part in Lehigh Launch this year. Lehigh Launch, an experiential, integrative learning experience for intellectually curious and independent students, took two cohorts of students to the American West in 2021 and will be expanding to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The first-semester experience is led by Lehigh faculty and staff, is open to students in any major, and costs the same as an on-campus semester.


Devon Kolumber

Full Season. After an abbreviated season, which was pushed from Fall 2020 to Spring 2021 due to the pandemic, Lehigh's football team played its normal schedule, with fans, in Fall 2021. The Marching 97, with drum major Devon Kolumber '22, also returned to Goodman Stadium.


Lehigh's football team celebrates

The Rivalry 157. Lehigh's football team ended the 2021 season with its third straight win by topping Lafayette, 17-10, at Goodman Stadium. The game's MVP, Jack DiPietro ’24, also helped the Mountain Hawks end Lafayette's two-game winning streak in The Rivalry.


Photography by

Christa Neu

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