Countdown to 150

Looking Back: The People, The Places, the Traditions

As we celebrated Lehigh's 150th anniversary, we looked back on 150 of the people, places, breakthroughs and traditions that have helped make Lehigh what it is today. Our list is hardly comprehensive—so many more people and places and memories could have been included—but it offers a historic (and fun) snapshot of Lehigh's proud history. 

  • Lehigh University's seal

    81. University seal and motto

    A guiding principle of the original trustees in establishing the university was to combine scientific and classical education. The university motto, "Homo Minister et Interpres Naturae," which translates loosely to "Man, the servant and interpreter of nature," was adopted from the works of Francis Bacon. The motto was incorporated into the university seal, which was officially adopted in 1866. The seal features a heart, sun, and book.  In 1997, a more modern look of the seal was adopted as part of the university logo, but the seal design stayed as is. 

  • Lehigh students taking a 4 o'clock exam

    82. 4 o'clocks

    Lehigh classes have two rounds of exams, and each are called 4 o'clocks, named for the time they are administered to students. Giving exams at this time allows all sections of the larger classes, such as Economics 001 or Calculus 21, to take the exam at the same time.  Also, to students chagrin, it allows professors to continue to use class time to continue teaching new material in class.

    In recent years, a number of stress-reduction activities have been added to help students cope with the extra academic pressure.

  • Alice Gast

    83. Alice Gast

    Alice P. Gast had accomplished much before August 2006, when she was appointed Lehigh’s 13th president. Gast had been a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University and vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

    During Gast’s seven and one-half years at Lehigh, the university began an ambitious campus planning process to create new collaborative spaces; raised a total of $725 million; created the Council for Equity and Community (CEC) to address diversity issues on campus; and expanded its work with South Bethlehem through the South Side Initiative and a community school partnership.

    Gast’s tenure also saw the establishment of the Iacocca International Internships for Global Leaders, the addition of the 750-acre Stabler Campus, the construction of the LEED-certified STEPS building, and the launch of Lehigh’s innovative Mountaintop initiative.

    Gast left Lehigh in July 2014 to become the first female president of Imperial College London.

  • Dr. William S. Pierce ’58

    84. Dr. William S. Pierce ’58

    Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. William S. Pierce, who graduated from Lehigh in 1958 with a degree in chemical engineering, led development of the first artificial heart pump, a milestone in the 1970s in medical technology and integrated research. The device, which has saved thousands of lives, was designated an International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

    Pierce excelled at Lehigh, where he did research on hemodynamics, the study of the motion of blood through the cardiovascular system. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he built his first model of an electrically powered artificial heart. He later joined Penn State University and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. In 1970, he created  the Artificial Heart and Circulatory Support Group there and joined forces with notable engineering associates to build the innovative heart-assist pump.

  • Aerial view of Lehigh's Goodman Campus

    85. The Goodman Campus

    Lehigh’s bucolic Goodman Campus, with its vast playing fields, is named for trustee emeritus Murray H. Goodman ’48. A Bethlehem native, Goodman donated $2.5 million to the university in 1983 to develop the more than 500 acres of land that Lehigh had acquired through land trades with the city of Bethlehem and Bethlehem Steel.

    The campus is home to the 16,000-seat Goodman Stadium, Stabler Athletic and Convocation Center, the Philip Rauch Field House, the Cundey Varsity House, the Lewis Indoor Tennis Center and the Ulrich Sports Complex and other athletic fields.

    Goodman, founder and chairman of The Goodman Company, a real estate development firm, established an endowment to support improvements to the campus and funded development of the Goodman Center for Real Estate Studies in the College of Business and Economics. Once captain of the varsity basketball team, he is also in Lehigh’s Hall of Fame.  

  • Linderman Library

    86. Linderman Library

    It’s no surprise that Linderman Library ranks high on College Rank’s list of 50 Most Amazing Libraries. One of the most beautiful structures on Lehigh’s campus, it boasts a Victorian rotunda with a striking stained glass skylight and Great Reading Room. 

    Named for Lucy Packer Linderman, the oldest child of Lehigh founder Asa Packer, it houses a rare book collection that includes Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and first editions of English and American literature from the 17th to 19th centuries. 

    After Lucy died of pneumonia in 1873, Packer donated $500,000 to have the library constructed in her memory, of which $400,000 was set aside for collections and maintenance. The library opened in 1878.  A large addition designed by Lehigh graduates James Wisscher and Theodore Burly was built in 1929. Another two-year renovation project was completed in 2007.

    Lehigh lore holds that Lucy’s ghost moves about the stacks.

  • Members of the Steel Battalion, Lehigh’s ROTC program.

    87. ROTC

    Formerly located at 223 W. Packer Avenue, Lehigh’s ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) house served as home to 13 men and women who are members of the Steel Battalion, Lehigh’s ROTC program. The house provided students who shared the goal of becoming an officer in the Army the opportunity to live together in an environment that promoted service to the nation, academic excellence, and fitness. The ROTC now operates out of Jordan Hall on the Mountaintop Campus.

    Lehigh’s ROTC program, one of the first in the country, began in September 1919 under the direction of President Henry Drinker, who supported the notion of military instruction even before the National Defense Act of 1916 established ROTC. The university initially required all physically qualified students to complete the basic ROTC course to graduate. The program became voluntary in 1961. 

    Today, the Steel Battalion is consistently rated among the best ROTC programs in the country.

  • Photograph by Lou Stoumen

    88. Lou Stoumen ’39

    Lou Stoumen ’39, a poet, photographer and filmmaker, once told the Brown & White that his work centered not on stories with happy endings but ways to make people aware of their own humanity.  He won Academy Awards for two documentaries: The True Story of the Civil War and Black Fox: The Rise and Fall of Adolph Hitler.

    Stoumen had entered a world at war after graduating from Lehigh. He worked first as a freelance photographer and journalist in New York City, taking photographs of Times Square, for which he became well known. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served as a combat correspondent and photographer for Yank.  His black-and-white war images have been displayed at Lehigh. 

    Stoumen, who also taught film production at U.C.L.A., died in 1991.

  • Mustard & Cheese Drama Society

    89. Mustard & Cheese Drama Society

    One of Lehigh’s many clubs, the Mustard & Cheese Drama Society is the second-oldest drama society in the United States. The society started in 1884 as a series of weekly meetings in the back room of Renning’s Bar in Bethlehem. The small group of Lehigh students named their club after their refreshments of choice: beer served with mustard and cheese. 

    The Mustard & Cheese Society strives to serve, support and promote theatrical activity at Lehigh by reaching out to students as well as the local community to bring theatre to their lives. Students must have acted in or performed technical work on two productions at Lehigh to be eligible for membership.

    Some M&C members have gone on to find fame as professional actors. Among them: Donald Most, who played “Ralph” on Happy Days, and Paul Guilfoyle, best known for his role as “Captain Jim Brass” on television’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

  • 90. The Hill

    Greek life at Lehigh began in 1872, just seven years after the university’s founding, with the establishment of of Chi Phi fraternity. Since then, more than 50 chapters have called Sayre Park, more commonly known as “the Hill,” home.

    Sayre Park was formally established in 1909 after a $100,000 donation from the children of Robert Sayre, chief engineer of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and an original member of the Board of Trustees. Throughout the early 1900s, many fraternities moved onto the Hill once they raised money for construction. In the late 1950s, Lehigh started a program to help the remaining off-campus fraternities move onto campus by contributing money towards construction.

    Sororities began to move onto the Hill in the 1990s. More recently, the Hill has expanded to offer living communities to non-Greeks, as well.  Sayre Park opened in 1998 as an apartment style option.  In 2003, the UMOJA living community moved onto the Hill. 

  • 91. A living memorial

    A dozen rain trees alongside the Alumni Memorial building stand as a living memorial to the eight alumni and four parents of alumni killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    A bronze plaque beneath each tree bears their names: Alumni Philip Guza '67, Allison Horstmann-Jones '92, Garry Lozier '78, Gregory Malone '81, Robert McLaughlin Jr. '93, Edward Pykon '90, Scott Saber '86, Thomas Sinton III '82; and the four parents of alumni, Alan Merdinger (father of Jill '02), Sareve Dukat (mother of Athena Dawn Shapiro '97), Philip Calcagno (father of Kristine '88 and Karen '91), and Jeffrey LeVeen (father of Jeff '97).

    “As the roots of these trees grow into the earth and take hold, so will the memories of our beloved Lehigh family fill our hearts and minds,” a plaque reads. “Let this memorial forever stand as a physical remembrance of our Lehigh family members who lost their lives in the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.”

  • Charles Russ Richards

    92. Lehigh’s sixth president

    Charles Russ Richards, who led Lehigh through the Great Depression, was Lehigh’s sixth president.  During his tenure, from 1922 to 1935, the first graduate degrees were awarded to women.

    When Lehigh faced a shortage of students as a result of the country’s severe economic slump, Rush took steps to help with recruitment while maintaining university standards – creating new fellowships and scholarships, allowing the deferment of tuition payments, establishing admissions and career placement offices and adding two new engineering curriculums. 

    Rush also oversaw construction of the Alumni Memorial building and Packard Laboratory, both completed in 1925. Concerned too about the Linderman Library, which had fallen into disrepair, he appointed a full-time library director, made plans for making books more accessible to students and oversaw an addition, completed in 1929. 

    Richards House, a first-year residence hall, honors his memory. 

  • Lehigh's arboretum

    93. The lost forest

    Did you know Lehigh established an arboretum in 1909 on the northern slope of South Mountain?

    Did you also know it was lost and forgotten about for decades until it was rediscovered in 2009 on Mountaintop campus by Robert Booth, associate professor of earth and environmental science?

    The arboretum—and a forest plantation—were intended to help Lehigh in conservation efforts and in establishing a forestry program. Robert Hall, Lehigh’s first professor of biology, and then-President Henry Drinker encouraged the planting of nearly all the tree species native to Pennsylvania. Experimental plots also were set up to assess what trees would grow best on the rocky soil. Some 8,000 trees were planted.

    Until the 1950s, the area was a source of trees for campus but also served as an outdoor classroom and open-air theatre.

    Today, though no longer maintained as an arboretum, students use the area as a natural lab to study ecology.

  • 94. McClintic – Marshall

    Friends Howard McClintic and Charles Marshall, who both graduated from Lehigh in 1888 with degrees in civil engineering, are the names behind the freshman dormitory built in 1957. And as co-founders of the McClintic-Marshall Construction Company, their accomplishments are memorialized in works of more monumental proportions—the Golden Gate Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the locks of the Panama Canal and the Empire State Building.

    McClintic excelled in athletics, and at Lehigh, he was captain of the baseball team and participated in the Lawn Tennis Club and the track team. He was also vice president of his class. Marshall joined McClintic to help establish the Lehigh Chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

    They co-founded their steel manufacturing firm two years after graduation. In 1931, the company was acquired by Bethlehem Steel for $32 million.

  • 95. Centennial School

    Located about six miles from the Asa Packer campus, near the Lehigh Valley International Airport, Lehigh’s Centennial School provides autistic children and troubled students with opportunities to start anew and to excel.

    Governed by the College of Education, the school has been nationally recognized for using positive behavioral intervention techniques to deal with children who have behavioral problems. Its director, Michael George, has testified before Congress about the school’s successful efforts to do away with archaic forms of discipline.

    Besides its mission to help students maximize their potential, the school helps prepare special education teachers to enter the workforce by bridging the gap between theory and practice.

  • 96. The fountains of Lehigh

    A striking marble fountain bearing the university seal greets those stepping onto the John A. Cable ’45 Arrival Court in front of the Alumni Memorial Building. The fountain, in the center of a circular driveway, is one of several fountains that can be found on campus that provide beauty, and perhaps when needed, places for contemplation.

    Look around, and you will also find fountains:

    At the south side of Wilbur Powerhouse.
    At the south entrance to Packard Laboratory.
    At the south entrance to Chandler-Ullmann Hall
    At Campus Square
    At the STEPS Building, where students can view the waterfall feature from windows overlooking an outdoor courtyard.

    In addition to the mechanical fountains, there is a natural spring water fountain in the parking lot retaining wall between Drinker and Dravo resident houses.

  • 97. Lynn S. Beedle

    Civil engineering legend Lynn S. Beedle had a passion for tall buildings. He inspired generations of students in his six decades at Lehigh and brought together engineers, social scientists and architects from around the world to create more livable cities.

    Beedle, who earned a master’s in 1949 and a doctorate in 1952 from Lehigh, was a tireless champion of skyscrapers as aesthetically pleasing residential centers and as viable alternatives to urban sprawl. He was perhaps best known as founder and director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international organization headquartered at Lehigh until it moved to Chicago in 2003.

    During the 1950s, Beedle introduced modern design concepts to the construction of steel buildings. He served as director of the Fritz Laboratory from 1960 to 1984 and wrote two widely used books, Plastic Design of Steel Frames and Structural Steel Design.

  • 98. A window to Wall Street

    On the second floor of the Rauch Business Center, in the College of Business and Economics, the Financial Services Laboratory connects Lehigh to Wall Street. Here, students who are preparing to enter a competitive job market have access to the most highly used data feeds and software applications -- the kinds of data they’ll likely have to analyze in financial careers and related pursuits.

    The lab, which opened in 2004, also Illustrates the strength of Lehigh’s relationship with the global financial community. Network partners include Thomson Reuters, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Market News International, MIAC, CQG and Alliance Bernstein.  The facility also promotes collaboration across disciplines.

  • 99. Sculpture on three campuses

    She sits, legs crossed, on a bench along Lehigh’s Memorial Walkway. The Woman on Park Bench, created by George Segal, gazes downward but still grabs the attention of passers-by—one of 50 thought-provoking outdoor sculptures on Lehigh’s three campuses.

    Gifts of alumni and friends, the sculptures are part of Lehigh University Art Galleries’ Teaching Collection, offering, as Curatorial Associate Mark Wonsidler points out, “the relatively rare experience of encountering significant works of art on a daily basis, as one is coming and going from classes, lunch, and other campus events.”

    The sculptures – some abstract – were created using different mediums, including metal, stone and plaster. The Temple, recently restored after being nearly destroyed during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, is a painted aluminum sculpture by Mary Ann Unger. Trees is a steel sculpture by Menashe Kadishman. The only kinetic (moving) art in the collection is Three Rings by Ephraim Peleg.  

  • 100. Lehigh’s fifth president

    An 1871 graduate of Lehigh, Henry Sturgis Drinker was the first alumnus to become the university’s president. Drinker graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and later studied law. He served the Lehigh Valley Railroad as an engineer and later as solicitor general.

    During his 1905-1920 tenure as Lehigh’s fifth president, Drinker managed university affairs in a business-like way and oversaw the formation of a teacher’s course and a business administration course; the division of the university into three colleges: liberal arts, business administration and engineering; the establishment of Army ROTC; and the completion of many campus buildings, including Fritz Laboratory and Taylor Gymnasium. Other notable beginnings during Drinker’s tenure include the establishment of the alumni endowment fund, the incorporation of the Alumni Association, and the publication of the first Lehigh Alumni Bulletin in 1913. 

    Drinker House, a residence hall for second-year students, bears his name.