Spotlight: Frederick Coleman ’17

Class of 2017 President Frederick Coleman delivered an inspiring talk at Lehigh’s 149th Commencement ceremony. Reminding fellow graduates of the unique experiences they shared, including the 150th anniversary celebration of Lehigh’s founding, he said the class also was witness to the university’s ongoing evolution as a more diverse institution.

“We’ve found over the years that diversity and opportunity can walk hand in hand,” said Coleman, the first African-American class president at Lehigh. “Whenever our institution needed someone to step up to the plate to do the extraordinary, to fill a void, to create, to lead—it was usually from the Class of 2017.”

Coleman cited circumstances such as rallying students together during polarizing national moments, creating outlets for culture like the African Renaissance dance team, building water distribution systems in Nicaragua and championing gender equality.

“You are leaders with the skill set and know-how to change the world,” he said, “and I truly believe that.”