Speaking in the Fall of 2015 on the occasion of his very first Founder’s Day — that annual celebration of Lehigh’s proud and accomplished past — newly arrived president John D. Simon asked the assembled faculty, students, staff and alumni to, instead, look to the future. And to do so, boldly.
He encouraged the campus community to envision a greater future for a truly great institution, and to ask themselves, and each other, what that future should ultimately look like. He spoke with confidence about the potential of a university that, in truth, should be bound by nothing. He also made clear he believed that Lehigh found itself at a crucial pivot point in its history—one that could ultimately determine the role it would play in a fast-changing and increasingly complex world.
Today, Simon seems more confident than ever that Lehigh is well-positioned to not only build on its legacy of excellence, but also to grow and evolve in ways that university founder Asa Packer could not have possibly imagined. Simon’s broad new vision, backed by the Lehigh Board of Trustees, calls for the university to move forward on plans to expand its student body, recruit new faculty, create new academic programs matched to the demands of our time, transform, rebuild and reimagine its beautiful campus, and even launch an entirely new college.
This exciting and wide-ranging new vision, Simon says, can and will be truly transformative—not only for Lehigh as an institution, but also for those who learn here, teach here, conduct research here, and serve here. After 150 years of great achievements and groundbreaking contributions to its community and its world, Lehigh is now challenging itself to dream of an even more powerful future. It is a future of great potential, and it is a future that, under Simon’s leadership, begins right now.
Over the next decade, the University will increase its undergraduate population by 1,000 students, or roughly 20 percent, increase graduate student population by 500, and recruit 100 more faculty. Its increased student population will bring a new dynamism and greater diversity to campus.
Lehigh will also expand its academic footprint, adding faculty in key growth areas and also moving forward on a plan to launch a new health college. The new college, Lehigh’s fifth, will build on the university’s well-established expertise in health and related fields, and give the university a stronger connection to the burgeoning health care market.
As Lehigh pushes forward on plans to add more students and scholars to its campus community, it will also launch a campus-wide facilities initiative that will include the construction of new residential and academic facilities, as well as renovations to some of its most iconic buildings.
The scope of work will extend from the top of South Mountain into the neighborhoods of South Bethlehem, providing creative spaces that will spark innovation and bring the university and its community even closer together.
1,000 new undergraduate students
500 new graduate students
100 new faculty
New facilities Construction of new residential and academic facilities
Renovations to several iconic buildings
College of Health A new college focused on health