A group of Lehigh alumni and their families spent 10 days together in Tanzania.

A group of Lehigh alumni and their families spent 10 days together in Tanzania.

Greetings from Tanzania!

The popularity of the Alumni Travel Program illustrates the uptick in alumni engagement.

baby zebra

Fun fact: Baby zebras come out with brown and white stripes, which turn black after about a year! I learned this from Daudi, a phenomenal safari guide here in Tanzania, where I’m spending 10 days with a group of Lehigh alumni and families. The travel company offers a complimentary spot when Lehigh registers enough people, and this is the first trip in many years that we’ve seen such high interest in The Alumni Travel Program.

The popularity of the Travel Program tracks with what we’re seeing across the board. In fact, drumroll please … as I write this, we’re just about to surpass our GO: The Campaign for Lehigh engagement goal: 50% of alumni have engaged since we launched, either through giving, attending, volunteering or consuming content— or all four! That doesn’t even count social media channels, nor your gatherings outside “official” Lehigh activities. If I could count that, I bet we’d be closer to 75-80%.

What’s happening? Well, part of it is that people are finally feeling better about socializing again. Part of it is that COVID gave our team a breather to study how alumni of all eras want to continue leveraging their relationship with Lehigh, and we’ve been offering and emphasizing a few new things. Part of it is the energy and excitement President Joseph J. Helble ’82 is spreading as he tours the world talking about Lehigh’s strategic plan, Inspiring the Future Makers.

But wait—there’s more! Alumni aren’t the only ones setting records at Lehigh either. I hear from Admissions that more than 20,000 hopeful students applied to Lehigh for just 1,500 spots, and 1,700 applied for just 10 Soaring Together full-tuition merit scholarships.

Once this is published, I’m going to tear this page out of my Lehigh Alumni Bulletin and pin it to the wall. Reading the news, it could seem like higher education is in a doom spiral. Looking at Lehigh’s engagement numbers, reading the First Destination Report from the Center for Career and Professional Development about how well our newest alumni are doing, and talking to alumni around the world, it seems we’re on steady, if not high, ground. Reflect back on your own days on campus, think about the relationships you’ve maintained, appreciate the doors that have opened for you. That’s what higher ed is about, at least at Lehigh.

I hope that if you’re not in that 50%, or if you have friends that haven’t engaged lately, you’ll join us soon. Your involvement doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic as a safari in Africa: You can look for events in your own city or online, read a story via our monthly and weekly emails, or support your favorite department or program with a gift. Check out alumni.lehigh.edu for dozens of activities.

Yours in Brown & White,

Jennifer Cunningham
Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations

P.S. True story: One of the only “typical” animals we haven’t yet seen is the leopard. I think we’ve scared them away with all our Lehigh pride, LOL!

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