I was at Goodman Stadium in mid-May when Lehigh’s newest alumni—members of the Class of 2022—were celebrated at Lehigh’s 154th Commencement. It’s always a visually exciting event, with graduates, professors and administrators in full regalia, representing a diversity of disciplines as well as signaling the diverse life paths ahead for the graduates.
I was on campus a few weeks later too, when Lehigh welcomed back an unprecedented number of classes to celebrate their milestone reunions. With the pandemic disrupting gatherings in 2020 and 2021, Reunion Weekend 2022 saw 42 classes returning to campus in June. It’s typically an equally exciting time, but this year was even more special, with so many more classes of alumni joining in a parade, touring campus, enjoying music and meals, and simply reminiscing. Some alumni couples renewed vows in Packer Memorial Church.
At both events, I reflected on what Commencement speaker Judy Marks ’84 ’13P, the chair, CEO and president of Otis Worldwide Corporation, had told the new graduates: That she was certain, given the focused education they had received in their chosen fields of study, that they will continue to transform themselves, and in the process, transform society in the decades ahead.
She shared the lessons she had learned since her own graduation from Lehigh: Become a lifelong learner; admit what you don’t know; be agile and solve unanticipated problems; be collaborative; know that impatience can be healthy, if recognized and mastered; trust your instincts; take risks; be accountable. Through all life’s ups and downs, what lessons had the alumni gathering for Reunion learned along the way? Through all the challenges we face as a society, what transformations, if any, had they experienced?
This issue of the Bulletin highlights the journeys of several alumni who are striving to make a difference. Krystal Ka‘ai ’10 is leading the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and in that role, seeks to address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Richard Gordon IV ’07G, Harrison Bailey III ’99G and other graduates of Lehigh’s Educational Leadership program are helping to transform students’ lives in their roles as principals and administrators. Cristina Arteta ’98 helped establish the Global Union while at Lehigh then continued efforts to build more inclusive and equitable spaces in her native Ecuador.
We hope you enjoy these alumni stories, and if you attended Reunion 2022, that you’ll find yourself in our many photographs. Reflecting on Marks’ Commencement address, what additional lessons might you have for Lehigh’s newest graduates?
Mary Ellen Alu