Lehigh officially opened the 2023-2024 academic year Friday morning with a Convocation in Baker Hall that brought together more 1,500 first-year and transfer students.
“I have to say, sitting here on the stage, looking out, how wonderful and how inspiring it is to see this sea of new students, this sea of brown and white,” Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble ‘82 told the incoming students. “It's a fabulous sight and it represents so much that's so exciting about this university. … You are all now part of the Lehigh family.”
Helble said he recognized what the students might be feeling in this week of transition to college life. When he first arrived at Lehigh as a student, he said, he wasn’t sure of his major, had never lived on his own, didn’t know if he could manage fitting in intercollegiate sports or what a Gryphon was, and hadn’t considered independent research.
“My emphatic advice as the president, as a professor, and yes, as a Lehigh alumnus who’s been through this here on this campus, is not to worry if you don’t have it all figured out today,” Helble said. He encouraged the students to try new things, push themselves outside of their comfort zone academically and professionally and to learn from failure. .
He said the first-year theme, "Crafting Our Communities with Care,” resonates strongly. “Lehigh students are grounded, have an optimistic view of the world that I frankly find infectious,” he said. “They do not sit on the sidelines, they roll up their sleeves to meet whatever challenges are thrown their way. And each and every one of you is a part of that now.”