Lehigh President John D. Simon to Step Down in June 2021

A formal search process for his successor will commence soon.    

Lehigh University President John D. Simon has informed the Board of Trustees of his decision to step down at the end of the academic year, effective June 30, 2021. Simon assumed his office with Lehigh on July 1, 2015. 

Simon stated it was a difficult decision, but said he is proud of what has been accomplished during his presidency and believes the university is well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward. “I’m honored and proud to be associated with the students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, friends and partners of this very special institution,” he said. “The people make this outstanding university what it is.”

Simon said he intends to remain a part of the Lehigh community. After a sabbatical year, he plans to return to the faculty in July 2022.  

Under Simon’s leadership, Lehigh embarked on a plan to increase the number of undergraduate students by 20 percent and the number of faculty by 100; established a new College of Health which is now welcoming its inaugural class; constructed SouthSide Commons and the Singleton, Hitch and Maida Houses as new residence halls; elevated the university’s commitment to increasing diversity among students, faculty and staff; launched GO: The Campaign for Lehigh, helping to meet the $1-billion campaign goal; and strengthened the relationship between the university and the City of Bethlehem and the South Bethlehem community.

lehigh president john simon

Lehigh President John D. Simon

“John’s leadership, vision and focus on execution have moved Lehigh forward in multiple dimensions,” said Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Clayton. “His intellect and passion for Lehigh are evident, and you need only talk to Lehigh community members to feel the affection and respect people have for him.”

Clayton added, “Integrity is at the core of John’s leadership and a firm commitment to the mission of Lehigh. His persistence, innovation and teamwork further enhance the promising future for our University. It is reassuring to the Board that John will continue at the helm through the academic year and will be associated with Lehigh in the years ahead."

Clayton said a presidential search committee will be named and that a formal search process will commence soon. The committee will include representation from across the institution, and input will be sought from the broader community in the selecting of Lehigh’s 15th President. 

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