In 1865, Asa Packer founded a university that would contribute to the "intellectual and moral improvement" of the Lehigh Valley. One hundred and fifty years later Lehigh University has its eye on the future, redefining what it means to lead every step of the way.


Forging our Future

From a Pulitzer Prize winner to a professional NBA player; a pioneering financial CEO to a U.S. ambassador, Lehigh’s alumni have made an impact in any number of sectors while also blazing new trails for others to follow. Alumni during this era provided hugely important support to the university, allowing for even further growth. With the receipt of the single largest bequest and land donation in its history, as well as the dedication of the Caruso wrestling complex and a $20 million gift to establish Mountaintop, Lehigh became well-positioned to build on its legacy of excellence.

Lehigh professors and students examining debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

NASA Calls for Lehigh’s Help

NASA selects Lehigh as the first academic institution in the U.S. granted access to the debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The Columbia exploded over the southern United States on February 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Two years later, materials science and engineering students were assigned a single previously unanalyzed piece of debris and charged with analyzing the failure and characterizing the materials’ response to hypersonic reentry conditions.

Joe Morgenstern '53, a film critic for The Wall Street Journal, won a Pulitzer for Criticism.

Alice Gast

Alice P. Gast is Named President

Alice P. Gast was appointed Lehigh’s 13th president in August of 2006. Prior to her appointment at Lehigh, Dr. Gast served as vice president for research and associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and held the Robert T. Haslam chair in chemical engineering.

A living memorial is created for the 12 people with ties to Lehigh who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Student working on a laptop in Linderman Library

Linderman Library Renovations Completed

With its newly created seminar rooms, classrooms, group study spaces, handicap access, café, exhibition areas and many other new features, this recent renovation transformed Linderman Library.

Dorothy and Donald Stabler

Stabler Family’s $34 Million Gift

Lehigh received a $34.2 million gift from the Stablers' estate for their endowed fund, the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Scholarship. The bequest, which is the largest single gift in Lehigh's history, provides generations of students with the opportunity to attend Lehigh, regardless of their financial circumstances.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducts six days of public teachings at Stabler Arena.

The STEPS building

STEPS is Completed

The Science, Technology, Environment, Policy, and Society (STEPS) facility is completed, providing a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment for natural and social scientists and engineers. The $62.1 million, 135,000-square-foot facility meets the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, minimizing global environmental impact and raising awareness of sustainable development on campus.

Former Lehigh basketball player, CJ McCollum

Lehigh Beats Duke

The 15th-seeded Mountain Hawks scored a 75-70 upset over second-seeded Duke University in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. It was Lehigh’s first NCAA tournament win.

Lehigh receives a gift of 755 acres from the Donald B. and Dorothy Stabler Foundation. The property was among the largest land donations ever to a U.S. university.

Interior of Caruso Wrestling Complex

Caruso Wrestling Complex Dedicated

Named after Lehigh wrestling great Michael Caruso '67, Lehigh’s only three-time NCAA champion, the renovated complex is a training and practice ground for Lehigh athletes and will also host young grapplers attending summer wrestling camps. 

Scott Belair '69, founder of Urban Outfitters, donates $20 million to officially kick off Phase 1 of the Mountaintop project.

C. J. McCollum '13 is selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA draft with the 10th overall pick, the highest ever pick of a Lehigh athlete by a professional sports team.

Lehigh football players at Yankee Stadium

150th playing of “The Rivalry”

On November 22nd, the longest continuously played college football rivalry, between Lehigh and Lafayette, met for the 150th time at Yankee Stadium in New York. This was only the second time the teams met on neutral turf and the first game ever to be played outside of the teams’ home state of Pennsylvania. The Mountain Hawks fell to the Leopards 27-7 in front of a record crowd of more than 48,000.

Richard Verma '90 named U.S. ambassador to India, becoming the first Indian-American to serve as ambassador in a major country.

John D. Simon

John Simon becomes Lehigh’s 14th President

On July 1st, 2015, John D. Simon became Lehigh’s 14th president. Hailing from the University of Virginia, where he was executive vice president and provost, President Simon is also an internationally renowned chemist and widely respected leader in higher education.

Catherine Engelbert '86 named chief executive officer of the audit and consulting firm Deloitte LLP. She is the first female CEO of a “Big Four” professional services firm in the United States. 

Model showing campus developments

Starting down the 'Path to Prominence'

Lehigh embarks on an ambitious plan that will allow it to grow and evolve into an even more impactful and innovative university—through undergraduate and graduate enrollment growth, faculty hiring, new academic programs and upgraded facilities.

Lehigh established the Western Regional Office by building curricular and research partnerships with dynamic enterprises in selected key cities within the Western Region.

President Simon and Kevin Clayton speaking

Together, we GO

On October 24th, we launched GO: The Campaign for Lehigh, a $1 billion-plus fundraising and engagement initiative that will strengthen our efforts to attract the best students, develop new facilities and programs and support the research of our renowned faculty. Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P and Lisa A. Clayton ’13P jump-started the public phase with a $20 million gift to fund the renovation of the University Center, which will be known as the Clayton University Center at Packer Hall.

A new shape, the scutoid, is discovered by a team of scientists including Javier Buceta, associate professor of bioengineering.

The renovations of Mountaintop Building C are completed and becomes the new home of the Art, Architecture & Design department.