Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble

President Joseph J. Helble ’82 speaks with alumni in Palm Beach, Fla., in February.

Examining Goals, Assessing Progress

A letter from President Joseph J. Helble '82.

With the spring semester well underway, I’ve been impressed with all we’ve been able to accomplish as a community. We’ve moved closer to a more typical pre-COVID academic year, with 1,092 in-person undergraduate course sections, 213 in-person graduate course sections and thousands of attendees, collectively, at our sporting events, art shows and performances. This semester, faculty offered at least 59 new courses on topics that reflect their creativity and desire to provide contemporary content to students.

As we chart the university’s path forward over the next decade, we are embarking on a strategic planning effort being led by Provost Nathan Urban and Vice President of Strategic Planning Christine “Chris” Cook. Lehigh last published its strategic plan in 2009, and we will start there. What did we say we would do? What did we accomplish? What did we not make progress on, and why? We need to take an accounting of our efforts before we can start the actual work on a new plan.

Joseph Helble with alumni in Naples, Florida.

Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble ’82 meets with alumni and their families in Naples, Florida.

While I want us to be aspirational in our goals, I also want our strategic plan to be operational. I will be asking our teams to develop a plan that has tangible milestones, markers and goals so that we can measure our progress along the way and know what it is that we are aiming for as a community. We are putting working groups in place, with the objective of beginning and completing the process in the 2022–2023 academic year.

Since beginning my tenure, I have been reflecting on the importance of Lehigh as a residential university—on what we do and must provide to our students. Our goal is to educate community-minded, productive, collaborative, responsible individuals. I am proud of our efforts in that regard as we prepare our students to enter the workforce and to become important contributors in their respective fields and in their communities.

Joseph Helble with students at Women in Business Conference

Joseph J. Helble ’82 talks with students at the Women in Business Conference at Mountaintop.

Lehigh is an extraordinary place. Our community has a roll-up-the-sleeves, get-the-job-done attitude. I find that refreshing—and inspiring.

I hope that I will have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many of you on my cross-country alumni tours, and perhaps many of you have already joined me on my “Pace the Prez” runs in the places I have visited. I thank you for your continued support.


Joseph J. Helble ’82, President

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