The naming of Joseph J. Helble ’82 as Lehigh’s 15th president was the result of a comprehensive global search that attracted a diverse pool of outstanding candidates and incorporated the insights of the broader Lehigh community.
Following the September 2020 announcement that John D. Simon ’19P would step down as Lehigh’s president on June 30, 2021, Lehigh Board Chair Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P asked Trustees Maria L. Chrin ’87 ’10P and Philip B. Sheibley ’81 ’19P to lead the search process for Lehigh’s next president.
As co-chairs, Chrin and Sheibley then formed a Presidential Search Committee that represented the various constituencies of the Lehigh community: trustees, staff, administrators, faculty, students and alumni. Assisting Lehigh with the process was the distinguished executive search firm Issacson, Miller, with Founder and Chair John M. Isaacson providing valuable guidance to the search committee.
The committee held a series of virtual town hall meetings in November to gather feedback from faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, parents and alumni. Those who were unable to attend shared their thoughts via a web survey and emails. Search committee members also connected with other Lehigh groups, including the Council of Student Presidents and the Executive Committee of the Young Alumni Council, as well as community and corporate leaders. The feedback and insights gathered from these interactions informed the work of the committee and the development of the position profile and Lehigh’s institutional profile.
“Being able to engage with numerous members of our community was critical to our work as a search committee. We thank all those who shared their perspectives,” Chrin said. “The dedication and passion of everyone who contributed are a testament to the deep pride that we feel for this university and its promising future.”
Both Chrin and Sheibley said the committee was pleased to see how many outstanding individuals with very diverse backgrounds expressed interest in the position, and said the superb quality of the candidates spoke to Lehigh’s strong reputation and bright future.
“Having had the opportunity to meet with so many impressive individuals over the course of the past several months, we can confidently say that this university is respected and admired by people throughout the world of higher education,” Sheibley said. “We couldn’t have been more pleased with our pool of candidates. Even so, Joe clearly stood out as the right person to take Lehigh forward. We are proud to welcome him home to Lehigh and look forward to working with him in the years to come.”
Lehigh Board Chair Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P expressed his gratitude to Chrin, Sheibley and the entire Presidential Search Committee for the time and effort they put into the search process over the past seven months, and for successfully bringing a strong new leader to Lehigh.
“I hope that everyone in the Lehigh community will join me in thanking the members of the Search Committee for their dedication and commitment to Lehigh,” Clayton said. “I deeply appreciate their efforts on behalf of the university and join them in warmly welcoming Joe Helble to Lehigh.”
Search Committee Members:
Maria L. Chrin ’87 ’10P, Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees, Co-Chair, Search Committee
Kevin L. Clayton ’84, ’13P, Chair, Board of Trustees
Benjamin Davis ’22G, Historian, Graduate Student Senate
Vince A. Forlenza, Jr. ’75, Trustee
Eve Freed ’21, President, Undergraduate Student Senate
Robin Hojnoski, PhD, Professor, School Psychology Program and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, College of Education
Kathy Iovine, PhD, Chair, Faculty Senate, Professor, Biological Sciences
Anand Jagota, PhD, Professor, Bioengineering
Mark V. Mactas ’74, Trustee
Lori McClaind, Associate Dean of Students
Frank A. Roth, Esq. ’80 ’08P ’11P, General Counsel
Philip B. Sheibley ’81 ’19P, Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees, Co-Chair, Search Committee
Charles E. Stevens, PhD, Thomas J. Campbell ’80 Associate Professor, Management
Ralph Albert Thomas ’76 ’77G ’16P, Trustee Emeritus
Fathima Wakeel, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, College of Health
Amy Weaver ’22P, Trustee
Ainsley E. Lamberton ’07G, Administrative Director of the Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, served as senior staff and coordinator for the search committee.