Helble later built on Urban’s remarks, stressing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. The opportunity for Lehigh to be even more interdisciplinary, “perhaps even radically interdisciplinary” in its approach to scholarship, as well as the HST building and the College of Health, was discussed as the Board of Trustees reviewed Lehigh’s strategic planning process.
“The challenges that the world is facing cannot recognize disciplinary boundaries,” Helble said. “Why should our scholarship? Why should our teaching? Why should our approach to research?”
Helble listed multiple examples of interdisciplinary projects currently taking place, including one that Hyunok Choi, associate professor in the College of Health and an environmental epidemiologist, is working on with colleagues in education, biology, psychology, business and engineering to explore how pollution causes asthma in children.
“What I hope you get is a sense for the exciting work that is, and will be, taking place in this building and the exciting collaborations that this facility and these partnerships among the colleges have made possible,” Helble said. “They are just a few examples. And this is only the beginning. Just imagine the conversations we'll be having here in these halls in the years to come.”
Forlenza, who spent nearly 40 years working in the medical device and health care industries and served on a Lehigh faculty task force to develop the first strategy for the College of Health, said he was proud to be a part of what he called a “transformational moment” for the university.
“I've seen many research buildings around the world. This building will be the choice for world class researchers,” Forlenza said. “But it's more than a building. It is the foundation of Lehigh's impact on health around the globe.”
Dolan noted as she began her remarks, Forlenza gave the first major gift to the College of Health and the college is currently in the midst of a search for the Ellen and Vincent Forlenza ’75 Chair in Health Innovation and Technology.
Following the approximately 30-minute ceremony, those in attendance were invited to take tours of the HST building, which included a presentation at the Nano | Human Interfaces Visualization and Data Analysis Lab.