President John Simon's Message to the Campus Community on Progress on the 'Path to Prominence'


Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I want to update you on our progress in building a stronger Lehigh through our “Path to Prominence” plan, which will allow Lehigh to grow and evolve into an even more impactful and innovative university. To keep you apprised, we have developed this website and I would encourage you to check it for details and further updates. 

With the city Zoning Board approval we have received, the new five-story student living facility at Brodhead and Packer is moving forward. This important new development, which we are calling SouthSide Commons, will provide living and recreational space for 400 students. Our aim is to break ground in 2018 and formally open for the 2019-2020 academic year.

We continue planning for a number of other major infrastructure projects, including a new science and research building, additional on-campus living facilities, extensive renovations to the University Center and a campus-wide effort to create spaces of collaboration, creativity and discovery.

One of the most exciting components of the "Path to Prominence" is our commitment to launch a new college of health—a center of innovation and learning that will be built, from the ground up, to specifically serve the needs of the fast-changing, fast-growing health care sector. We have faculty expertise and strong student interest—and hope to generate even more. 

I want to commend the faculty working group for their work and thoughtful report.  It has been invaluable as over the course of the past few months, Provost Pat Farrell and I have had constructive conversations with our faculty, industry partners, healthcare experts and others. We have made great progress in identifying some focus areas on which the college may be built. The creation of this college will be a transformational step forward for Lehigh.  

The work to grow our undergraduate and graduate student enrollment is well underway. Our goal is not just greater numbers, but also an effort to substantially diversify and grow our undergraduate student population.

Our participation with the American Talent Initiative will see us join with top universities nationwide in a collective effort to make higher education more accessible to young people from all backgrounds. Guiding us in these efforts will be George White, a longtime professor of educational leadership here at Lehigh, who has just been named our first ever managing director for student support and access. Through our recently announced partnership with the New York-based Posse Foundation, Lehigh will begin recruiting and admitting each year a cohort of high-achieving, lower-income students from California’s Bay Area.

This is an exciting time for everyone at Lehigh. I’m pleased with the progress we are making while recognizing we have much work ahead of us. I welcome your support, contributions and input as we move forward together.


John D. Simon

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