More Important than Ever

The COVID-19 crisis sheds light on the enduring importance of university research and the people who do it.

Much has changed since we began preparing this annual magazine for publication. As we navigate these uncharted waters, we recognize the pain and suffering COVID-19 has brought to its victims and their families, and the countless burdens borne by so many in weathering the crisis. These real impacts bring to the fore myriad fundamental questions: of life processes, biomedicine, probabilities, and public health; of the resilience of supply chains, means of resource allocation, and their likelihood of yielding just and ethical outcomes; of leadership, adaptation of organizations and ingenuity; of the ever-confounding mix of strengths and frailties of people and societies; of how we understand our place within nature; of how our narratives affect our decisions and our treatment of each other; and of how our decisions affect nature itself.

These are questions that scholars have always pursued. They are front of mind now because we recognize them as questions of life and death, and because they go straight to the pains, fears, consolations, and moments of gratitude we are now experiencing. But they are not new. We have pursued them all along and taught our students to notice them and to recognize true purpose in pursuing them.

On the other side of this crisis, there will be more to understand and more to learn. We will never proffer magical solutions to complex problems, nor deny that the answers to certain questions may elude us. We will, however, endeavor to empower our students and our society to have greater foresight, to act more justly, to help us all be a little less fragile when the next crisis might arise.

We hope that you enjoy this edition of the Lehigh Research Review. Our talented faculty are astute and engaged observers of the world around us, respected scholars in their fields, eager partners with people who might be affected by their work, and dedicated teachers. In the scholar’s will to take on hard questions, and to see circumstances for what they are, we look forward with optimism.


Alan J. Snyder
Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies

Patrick V. Farrell