In ways big and small, Lehigh and its alumni have leaped onto network television and movie screens, from Lehigh’s surprise inclusion in an episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons to the real-life portrayal of alum Lee Iacocca ’45 in the hit film Ford v Ferrari.
With more than 150 years of history and alumni in fields from engineering to entertainment, it makes sense that Lehigh would have wide reach, says Media Relations Director Lori Friedman.
“Our reputation as a university with a focus on a vibrant student experience, as well as our iconic campus architecture, have cemented Lehigh in the popular imagination as a quintessential northeastern school,” she says.
1. The Simpsons
Lehigh and its men’s basketball team figure in the second episode of the 31st season of The Simpsons. In the episode that aired Oct. 6, 2019, Homer mentors Mike Wegman, who buys a food truck with money borrowed from mobster Fat Tony. Wegman assures Homer that he’ll be able to pay back Fat Tony by betting on Lehigh in its game against Holy Cross. Lehigh falls in a major upset, but Wegman escapes demise by winning over Fat Tony with his pizza-by-the-slice. As the credits roll, there’s a ribbon-cutting at Lehigh for the Mike Wegman Center for The Study of Patriot League Basketball Spreads.
How did Lehigh wind up in the episode? Executive producer John Frink says he knew enough about the Patriot League (he’s from Hamilton, N.Y., home of Colgate University) to know that a Lehigh loss to Holy Cross would have indeed been an upset in 2018, when he wrote the episode. (Lehigh beat Holy Cross twice that year, 83-77 and 71-67.)