Future Makers of London

President Joseph J. Helble '82 visited London this week to share Lehigh's strategic plan, Inspiring the Future Makers, with a group of more than 100 alumni from the greater London area. The event was held at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Photo by Sam Lane.

'We have Delivered Exactly as We have Been Promising,' Helble Says During London Trip to Share Lehigh’s Strategic Plan

President Joseph J. Helble ’82 traveled to London this week to meet with alumni and talk about Lehigh’s accomplishments.

Photography by

Sam Lane

During his first year as Lehigh President, Joseph J. Helble ’82 promised to take a hard look at the challenges facing the university. During his second year, he traveled throughout the world to inform the alumni community that Lehigh was developing its first strategic plan in 15 years, to ensure the university was embarking on a path to excellence.

“I am here today, in my third year, to talk about what we've accomplished, and to show you that we have delivered exactly as we have been promising,” Helble said. “And I will be asking for your support and your engagement as an alumni community to share the pride and help take us to the next level.”

Helble delivered those remarks during Future Makers of London, a gathering of more than 100 alumni from the greater London area. Held on March 14 at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, it is part of a series of Future Makers events hosted in cities throughout the United States and the world.

Joseph J. Helble

President Joseph J. Helble '82 speaks during Future Makers of London, a gathering of more than 100 alumni at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London.

Helble discussed the initiatives and goals in Lehigh’s strategic plan, Inspiring the Future Makers, including a deep focus on interdisciplinary research and education, making Ph.D. education more student-centered, investment in strategic interdisciplinary research areas, and transforming Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus.

“In a world that so often looks back, I think this ambitious strategic plan moves forward,” Helble said.

But fulfilling this plan will require the help of alumni like those in London, Helble said. He asked those in attendance to help Lehigh by mentoring and engaging students, connecting with other alumni in London, making return visits to campus, and investing philanthropically during the upcoming Giving Day + March Mania event on March 26 and 27.

“This is where you come in: our alumni community here in London and around the world,” Helble said. “You help fuel innovation and creativity, and we need you to help us move Lehigh forward.”

Griffin Reichert '21

Griffin Reichert '21 was one of the alumni who attended Future Makers of London.

Hundreds of Lehigh alumni live in the greater London area, and Helble has vowed to visit the city at least once each year. Helble also had dinner on March 13 with seven students studying in London through Lehigh’s education abroad program, and on the morning of March 14, he hosted one of his Pace the Prez runs with both students and alumni based in the city. Also in attendance at Future Makers for London were Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs at Lehigh; Mark Erickson, Interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations; and John Leiner, Associate Director of International Development.

Helble discussed the Lehigh Commitment, in which undergraduate students from families with a total income of less than $75,000 receive a grant covering their full tuition, making a Lehigh education accessible to talented students who will strengthen the campus community. The program drew a round of applause from the audience.

He also discussed ongoing renovations and investments in new facilities at the Lehigh University campus. This includes the 2022 opening of the Health, Science and Technology building which houses the College of Health, as well as last year’s expansion of the Lehigh Business Innovation Building.

Future Makers of London

From right to left: Danielle Fox '19, Baylie Harris '19 and Sabrina Mertz '19 attend Future Makers of London.

Helble also highlighted the fact that The Wall Street Journal has ranked Lehigh the 14th best college in the United States, and described new initiatives at Lehigh like the Compelling Perspectives event series, which has featured such guest speakers as former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

“I think at this moment of conflict and polarization across the world, higher education has never been more important,” Helble said. “As an alumnus, and as the president, I truly believe that a grounded, face-the-challenges-head-on education at a university like Lehigh has never been more important.”

Will Vu ’19, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics at Lehigh and now lives in London, was among those who attended the Future Makers event. He said he was excited to hear about everything Lehigh has done and what’s in store for the future.

“I agree that this seems like an inflection point for Lehigh, as well as a very exciting time for the university,” Vu said. “It’s great to hear about the expansions, the strategic plan, and Lehigh’s continued commitment to excellence.”

Story by Colin McEvoy.

Photography by

Sam Lane

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