Heble noted: “These days unfortunately the world too often reminds us of the fragility of community. From a global pandemic keeping families and friends apart to unprovoked wars of aggression to recent tragedies in Buffalo and Orange County and far, far too many other places—tragedies that remind us that not everyone has the luxury of shopping, worshipping, walking, [or] simply being without worrying that that sense of community might be shattered. Yet here, on our campus, I have seen such beauty in community.”
Helble joked that he recently “photobombed” several groups of students gathering in small groups to take Commencement photos.
“But graduates, what struck me in each of those moments was your attentiveness to one another, your being in the moment, your looking one another in the eye, your sharing in that sense of community we call Lehigh.”
He spoke of the many moments we find ourselves distracted in everyday life such as while watching a video, taking a call, shopping, or participating in a meeting, and how those distractions impact our ability to be present in the moment.
“So my parting words to you today as an academic, as a professor, and as your president, are not about the work you have done here. They're not about your academic accomplishments, which are great. They are not about the world you will encounter, the challenges you will face, the work you will do, or the impact I know you will have,” he said.
“My parting words are about asking you, every once in a while, to pause. Just pause. For five minutes, or five hours, or maybe even five days. To step away from your devices, ever so briefly, and be present in the moment, in the ways that you have been these past few weeks when I have seen you walking across campus together or standing arm-in-arm outside the UC, outside Linderman, or Alumni Memorial celebrating with one another, gathering for photographs. Simply being here, together, as part of this great Lehigh community. Pause. Don’t let this simply be a relic of your last few weeks at Lehigh. Try to make it a regular part of your lives. I promise they will be richer because of it.
“Congratulations, graduates—Lehigh is so proud of what you have endured these past four years and what you have done.”
Commencement day weather began with a crisp morning and was warm and sunny…There were 1,092 undergraduates in the Class of 2022…86 graduates received interdisciplinary bachelor’s degrees…They hailed from 41 states and 42 countries outside the U.S.… Undergraduates majored in 62 different disciplines … The ceremony began with an invocation from Rabbi Steven P. Nathan, endowed director of Jewish Student Life and Associate Chaplain, and was followed by the national anthem, sung by Joshua I. Venick ’22. … Matthew J. Gunton ’22 delivered the undergraduate remarks …. The ceremony officially concluded with the ringing of the bell by representatives of the classes of 1972 and 2022 ... The benediction was offered by Rabbi Nathan … The alma mater was led by Heather R. Keyser ’22…. The Allentown Band, under the direction of conductor Ronald H. Demkee, delivered its 39th consecutive performance at Lehigh’s Commencement ceremony. It is America's oldest civilian concert band, with its first documented performance on July 4, 1828.