Telling Stories That Matter

Anyone who has been following recent events here on South Mountain must know by now that these are pretty exciting times to be at Lehigh.

The university has begun to move forward on some of the core elements of President John D. Simon’s Path to Prominence plan, and that progress can be seen almost everywhere, both on campus and the world over: New buildings are starting to rise, new initiatives and partnerships are being launched, and new ideas—about what this university can and should be—are being considered. Momentum is building—and as it does, excitement is, too.

But as I read through the stories that we share in this issue of the Lehigh Bulletin, I was reminded once more that a plan as ambitious and forward-looking as Path to Prominence simply could not be possible were it not for the fact that the Lehigh community is one built to make such a plan into reality. I suppose that it is precisely at times like these when we can see so clearly that, as always, the greatest asset we have here is our people—the students and faculty and staff and alumni who contribute in ways both large and small toward our collective effort to make Lehigh a truly great, truly relevant and truly impactful institution of higher learning. In this issue, we are proud to share more of their stories.

In one of our feature stories, Real Food, Real Change (Page 18), you will learn about some of the forward-thinking individuals who are working to make Lehigh an ever-more sustainable university. Lehigh is committed to being a responsible steward of our environment, and important initiatives such as the Real Food Campus Commitment, through which the university is doing its part to support sustainable food sources, are helping us achieve that goal.

In our research section, we profile Kelly Austin, an associate professor of sociology whose work explores the intersections between population health, the environment, global development and other issues. In her latest work, Austin has uncovered some troubling dynamics in the booming coffee industry—and in Fair Trade? (Page 12) offers some ideas on how an unfair system might be fixed.

Our Mountain Hawk athletes always make us proud, and in our sports section (Pages 16-17) we share the stories of yet two more model student-athletes: softball star Carolyn Wright, who may go down as one of Lehigh’s greatest sluggers ever; and faceoff ace Conor Gaffney, who has earned plaudits for his unbreakable work ethic, both on the lacrosse field and in the classroom.

We also celebrate the creative work of artist-in-residence Karyn Olivier, dive deep into the mysteries of the universe alongside geochemist Jill McDermott, offer some updates on campus development and more.

We hope that you enjoy this issue, and welcome you as always to share your comments and criticisms by sending your emails to, or your snail mail to the address at right.

Thank you for reading.

Tim Hyland, Editor

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