John D. Simon

Lehigh President John D. Simon '19P

Our Shared Successes

A letter from President John D. Simon '19P

Photography by

Christa Neu

How can an already eminent institution marshall its greatest strengths to create an even greater tomorrow? How can a campus community work together to push their university, their community and the world forward?

These are the questions that I was pondering six years ago as I was preparing to assume the presidency here at Lehigh University. I had learned a great deal about this proud institution in the months leading up to my arrival on campus, and I had come to understand very clearly the core values that had helped make Lehigh one of our nation’s top universities.

Lehigh was a place, I could see, that deeply valued its history and traditions. It was a place that truly believed in the power of the Lehigh experience to change lives for the better, and believed, too, in the power of Lehigh people to change the world for the better. I could see Lehigh valued bold thinking and innovative research, that it fostered a culture of interdisciplinarity in a way that many other institutions did not, and that it took very seriously its mission statement of teaching, research and service.

But in the months leading up to my arrival on campus, I could see something else, too: I could see an institution that was ready for change.

Over these past few years, I am proud to say, we have been able to work together to fuel that change. And as a result, I am equally proud to say that we successfully helped build a stronger Lehigh.

Our partnership with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco has given us a new home on the West Coast, and allowed us to cultivate a space for innovation and entrepreneurship for our students, faculty and alumni. At the same time, we have continued to foster the entrepreneurial spirit here on campus, with programs such as the Mountaintop Summer Experience, the Lehigh Humanities Lab, the Data for Impact Summer Institute and our Social Impact Fellowship program, which challenges our students to play a role in solving the most intractable problems of our time—not only here at home, but the world over.

We have transformed our beautiful campus through the construction of a number of new facilities that will support the residential experience and the important work of our faculty for years to come. The Hitch, Maida and Singleton houses are completed and will open for the spring semester. We are also nearing completion of construction on the Health, Science and Technology Building and look forward, too, to moving ahead with our planned renovation of the historic Clayton University Center and the construction of a new College of Business building. Each of these projects represents an important step forward for our university.

This fall, we were proud to formally open the doors of our fifth and newest college, the Lehigh University College of Health, which will help us to prepare the next generation of leaders in the fast-growing field of population health science. It is the first new college to open at Lehigh in 50 years.

And there has been so much more: our continued work to make Lehigh an ever-more global university through initiatives such as our partnership with Ashoka University in India; our ever-growing commitment to faculty through programs such as the $20 million Research Futures initiatives; and, of course, our collective work to achieve our $1 billion-plus goal for GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. Thanks in large part to your support, we have already raised $667.3 million, and I have no doubt we will ultimately exceed the goal that we established.

My tenure as president of Lehigh will be coming to an end at the conclusion of this academic year, but our many achievements over these past five years will continue to serve Lehigh well for years and decades to come.

I thank you most sincerely for your support as we have worked, together, to make our great institution even greater.


John D. Simon '19P


Photography by

Christa Neu

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