Runners during the Inauguration Fun Run

Students, staff and faculty participate in the Inauguration Fun Run.

Reconnecting as a Community

A letter from President Joseph J. Helble '82.

Photography by

Marco Calderon

My first few months as Lehigh’s 15th president have rekindled the feelings of excitement and opportunity that I first felt when I arrived at Lehigh as an undergraduate student so many years ago. It’s been a return home in some sense for all of us, as students, faculty and staff readjusted to being fully back together on campus and in-person classes and activities resumed.

I’ve been enjoying walks—and runs—across our campuses, and I’ve had the opportunity on these occasions to talk with students about their Lehigh experiences and the reasons they chose the university. Strong academics, a bucolic setting, a sense of community. It was the same for me, too. As an undergraduate at Lehigh, I greatly valued my relationships with my classmates, fellow Gryphons and cross-country teammates as well as my professors, whose guidance and wisdom helped guide my career and life trajectory.

At numerous events on and off campus over the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to also meet and talk with alumni, faculty, staff and parents who express similar feelings about our beloved Lehigh. Also, there’s a shared sense of gratitude for being back together. On campus and at virtual and in-person events, we have been reconnecting as a community.

We learn best, and find solutions, when we are all part of the conversation.

Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble '82

Our strength as a residential research university comes from living, working and learning together. Our diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences help us to challenge one another and learn from one another in the classroom, in our research and beyond, and that diversity serves us well as we tackle complex problems at home and around the globe. The challenges we collectively face are many—among them, climate change, social justice, and access to energy. Our best tool to try to solve these complex problems is in what Lehigh offers: a multidisciplinary approach to learning and research and an education grounded in an understanding of science and technology. We learn best, and find solutions, when we are all part of the conversation. 

We have much to be proud of here at Lehigh. Since the university’s founding more than 150 years ago, the world has changed, and Lehigh has changed along with it. We have new programs, new areas of research, a new college, new buildings, more students and more faculty. We must continue to build on our programs and be forward-thinking as we examine, together, what education needs to be on every level. 

I am excited to be back at my alma mater. From the moment I returned to campus as Lehigh’s 15th president, I have felt at home. And as we continue to navigate pandemic-related challenges, I look forward to working with the Lehigh community to elevate our great institution and the distinctive Lehigh experience.


Joseph J. Helble '82, President

Photography by

Marco Calderon

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