Lehigh’s astronomical observatory was built in 1868 thanks to a $5,000 gift from Robert H. Sayre, an original Lehigh trustee. Sayre’s gift also allowed for the purchase of a sidereal clock, a filar micrometer and a refractor telescope.
Charles L. Doolittle, professor of mathematics and astronomy from 1875 to 1895, conducted astronomical research in the observatory that garnered international recognition for Lehigh.
In the late 1920s, a new trolley line on nearby Brodhead Avenue resulted in vibrations that made accurate observations with the telescope impossible. Afterwards, Sayre Observatory was used only for lectures, graduate student thesis research and amateur observations with the telescope. Astronomical use of the observatory concluded in the 1950s, and the equipment was removed in 1961. In 2005, the university moved the observatory approximately 300 feet to its current location next to the Alumni Memorial Building to make room for campus enhancements.
George Crawford was a member of the Kosciuszko Squadron, a group of 10 American pilots who fought for Poland during its 1919-21 war with Russia. The group took its name from Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish general who served with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Crawford and the other Americans received the Cross of the Brave and the Polish Service Medal from the Polish government after the war.
Crawford, who earned a B.S. in mining engineering, began military training in 1912 at the Plattsburg Cadet School. After America entered World War I in 1917, he completed flight training and was promoted to lieutenant. During the war, he served in France as a flight instructor, bomber pilot and commander of the 20th Bomber Squadron. Following the war, Crawford commanded the Aerial Navigators Experimental Squadron and served as a member of the American Relief Administration in the Baltic region.
Henry Alexander Neville is the only Lehigh faculty member ever elected president of the university.
Neville received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University. He taught chemistry at Princeton and the University of Illinois before joining Lehigh in 1927. Neville served as head of Lehigh’s department of chemistry and chemical engineering degree program, and in 1951 he began to organize a formal chemical engineering department. A dedicated supporter of research at Lehigh, Neville also increased funding from the National Science Foundation in nearly every science and engineering department. Prior to his presidency, Neville served as director of the Institute for Research, dean of the graduate school and university provost.
Neville’s 1961-1964 tenure oversaw the completion of the first phase of the Saucon Valley athletic complex (now Goodman Campus), the opening of Sayre Field and the establishment of the Center for Information and Computing Science. He died in 1983.
The (Centennial) Class of 1966 broke with tradition by presenting Lehigh University with an academic scepter, or ceremonial mace, as its class gift instead of a plaque. The 38-inch oak mace, a symbol of order and academic dignity, was first used during the 1965 inauguration of W. Deming Lewis as Lehigh’s 10th president.
Designed by New York artist Louis F. Glasier, the university mace features a sterling silver Lehigh Seal, with a gold-relief “book of knowledge” and pale yellow topaz representing the “light of truth.” Widely recognized as a symbol of medieval university officials, it is carried by a mace-bearer at major Lehigh ceremonies, such as Founder’s Day.
The honor of carrying the mace – and leading Lehigh’s president in procession – currently rests with James McIntosh, professor of sociology, who has carried on the tradition since 1996.
Class President Stephen Goldman ’66 presented the mace to the university 50 years ago.
The historic Sun Inn in Bethlehem had sheltered the likes of John Adams, Martha Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. On the afternoon of July 27, 1865 – 150 years ago today – the inn was the location of a momentous gathering for Lehigh University: the first Board of Trustees meeting.
Minutes were written in elaborate Victorian script in a leather-trimmed notebook, covering 1½pages. There was no hint that board members Bishop William Bacon Stevens, Robert H. Sayre and Robert A. Packer were launching a somewhat risky venture. They appointed a treasurer, recorded that “the institution shall consist of a college proper as usually organized, together with a scientific school embracing the whole class of physical sciences taught in the best institutions of its kind” and decided to advertise for an architect to build a main stone building.
Fou nder Asa Packer was not present. He was on a trip to Europe.
Gregory Farrington received his Ph.D. in electrochemistry from Harvard University and worked as a scientist for General Electric before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as director of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter and as dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
During Farrington’s 1998-2006 tenure, Lehigh launched a $75-million academic venture fund to encourage the creation of innovative academic programs. Admissions increased as did alumni giving and the US News rankings. The university doubled its research funding and started a dozen new undergraduate programs, including Integrated Business and Engineering, ArtsLehigh and Global Citizenship. Farrington also oversaw the construction of Campus Square, which will be rededicated Farrington Square in October 2015.
Committed to partnering with the local community, Farrington worked with the city of Bethlehem, the state and federal government, and other partners to make the region a better place for all.
Roy Eckardt, author of 18 books and many articles on moral philosophy and the theology of politics, was a scholar of Christian-Jewish relations who founded the department of religion studies and served as its chair during much of his tenure at Lehigh from 1951 to 1982.
Eckardt’s books included Black-Woman-Jew: Three Wars for Human Liberation, Elder and Younger Brothers: The Encounter of Jews and Christians and Christianity and the Children of Israel.
For 10 years, Eckardt was editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
Eckardt often collaborated with his wife, Alice, a professor emerita of religion studies. The Alice Eckardt Visiting Scholar-in-Residence program, endowed by an anonymous donor in 2012, examines changes in the academic study of religion.
The Eckardt Scholars Program in the College of Arts and Sciences allows selected undergraduate students to create a flexible course of study while completing an independent project.
In May 2015, Lehigh announced the launch of an exciting university initiative: Data X. Building upon Lehigh’s traditional strengths in engineering, business and the liberal arts, Data X will expand the university’s faculty in computer science and three key thrust areas, and will prepare students working across all disciplines to understand, create and collaborate through the latest technologies and methodologies available to researchers today.
Data X will provide new opportunities for faculty and students to use computer science and data analytics to support research and innovation in engineering, business, natural and social sciences, and the humanities, enriching the student experience and developing graduates with increasingly sought-after skillsets. With an eye toward broader expansion into a wide range of programs and disciplines, initial focus areas will build on existing strengths in bioengineering, marketing and digital media.
Daniel Lopresti, chair of Lehigh's department of computer science and engineering, will lead the initiative.
A visionary in world tourism, Arthur C. Tauck Jr. ’53 ’79 took over the family’s tour business in 1958, when his father surprised him one morning by retiring. Tauck had already shown a knack for inventiveness – just months earlier, with air travel still in its infancy, he had come up with the idea of chartering a weekly tourist flight from Idlewild, N.Y. to Nova Scotia.
Tauck continued to innovate. He envisioned chartered air/motor coach trips when others still relied on rail. The company introduced helicopter sightseeing in the Hawaiian Islands and helicopter travel to mountain sites in the Canadian Rockies. His Yellow Roads of Europe Tours took people to places less travelled.
A dynamic Lehigh supporter, Tauck funded a chair in international marketing, a classroom in the Rauch Business Center, the Arthur C. Tauck Scholarship, and the Tauck Scholars Program, which provides students with international summer internships.
Dedicated during Lehigh’s 75th anniversary, Grace Hall was opened in 1942. Today, the facility, known as “The Snake Pit,” is home to Lehigh’s nationally ranked wrestling program and the women’s volleyball program. It houses the 1,788-seat Turner-Leeman Arena and the Caruso Wrestling Complex.
From 1941-1994, the upper floor housed the ROTC and AFROTC departments. Later, from 1995-2012, Grace Hall was also home to the Ulrich Student Center, which included a movie theater, post office and WLVR, Lehigh’s FM radio station. A 2012 renovation converted the space into the two-story Caruso Wrestling Complex, which includes the Hall of Champions, a wrestling practice mezzanine with three full-size mats, sport-specific weight and fitness training rooms, state-of-the-art real-time video playback equipment, offices, study space, meeting rooms and lockers. The complex has become a premier U.S. training center for college wrestling and is home to the Lehigh Valley Athletic Club, a sponsored training site for Olympic development in wrestling.
Lehigh students work in area soup kitchens, tutor local school children in afterschool programs, volunteer their time to create a haunted house for each October’s “Spooktacular Event,” clean up walking trails, paint community murals, organize clothing drives and participate in the Lehigh springSERVE program, now recognized as a model for other schools.
It’s all organized through the Lehigh University Community Service Office, which was established in the fall of 1996 to coordinate efforts of students, faculty and staff in service to the greater Lehigh Valley area. The office is led by former AmeriCorps VISTA member Carolina Hernandez, who was assigned to Lehigh to expand the community service component. Hernandez pulled together a skeleton staff and quickly discovered a rich vein of social consciousness.
Each year, thousands of Lehigh volunteers contribute more than 60,000 hours of service to more than 100 agencies devoted to the local community and beyond.
Lehigh's police force began as a one-man night watchman in the 1960s, grew into a security force by 1967, and was officially named a department in 1975 to meet the safety needs of an expanding student population and campus. As a police force, officers were required to be professionally trained and continue with safety education.
The LUPD was awarded full accreditation from the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program in 2007 – one of only five campus police forces in Pennsylvania with that distinction. It is led by Chief Ed Shupp, who joined the force as a patrolman in 1979 and was named chief in 2000. He currently oversees a staff that includes an assistant chief, a lieutenant, three sergeants, two corporals, 17 patrol officers, plus dispatchers, security guards and part-time events staff.
The LUPD works closely with the Bethlehem Police Department as part of the university's Community Policing Program.
In 1970, Scott Belair ’69 needed a project for an entrepreneurship workshop he was taking as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, so he and Richard Hayne ’69 founded The Free People Store. Located next to campus, it sold apparel and apartment/dorm items. Belair got an A, received his MBA and moved on to Wall Street. Hayne moved the store to a larger location in 1976, renaming it Urban Outfitters.
Hayne remains president and CEO of Urban Outfitters, a specialty retail company whose other brands include Anthropologie, Free People and Terrain. The company operates more than 550 stores in the U.S. and abroad and has a significant online business. Belair, who serves on Urban Outfitters’ board of directors, is a principal at The ZAC Group, which performs corporate financial advisory services. His $20 million donation to Lehigh enabled the university to kick off the Mountaintop project, now in its third summer.
Built in 1884 from Pennsylvania sandstone, Chandler-Ullmann Hall won a design prize at the Paris Exposition of 1889. Considered the first modern chemical laboratory, the building boasted large labs and chimneys that aided in the circulation of fresh air and the removal of fumes from experiments. In 1994, the lab section was designated a National Historical Chemical Landmark.
The force behind the original T-shaped structure was William H. Chandler, professor of chemistry from 1871 to 1905 and twice an acting Lehigh president. With architect Addison Hutton, Chandler helped plan the building.
In 1921, the west wing was extended, and in 1938, an east wing, named for Harry M. Ullmann, was added. Ullmann chaired the chemistry department from 1914 until 1938.
The lab was the chemistry department’s main building until 1975, when the Seeley G. Mudd Laboratory was completed. The department of psychology and the department of art, architecture and design are now housed there.
One of Lehigh’s beloved traditions is The Rally. At the start of each fall semester, the incoming class gathers officially for the first time at The Rally and is presented with a class flag, complete with graduation year and colors. The flag carries the same design and colors as the group’s “adopting class,” which came through the university 50 years earlier.
The tradition began in 1945, when the Class of 1949 was adopted by the Class of 1899. Alumni representatives return to campus for The Rally to carry their flags, which, when not in use, decorate the halls of the Alumni Memorial Building.
The oldest surviving original class flag is from the Class of 1889.
Lehigh’s eighth president helped develop the atomic bomb.
Martin Dewey Whitaker received a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest, a master's from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. from New York University, where he also served as faculty and chair of the physics department.
In 1943, Whitaker studied nuclear technology under Enrico Fermi at The Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. He then directed the design and construction of Clinton Laboratories (later known as Oak Ridge National Laboratories) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where scientists tested and developed plutonium for use in the atomic bomb. In 1946, Whitaker became president of Lehigh University.
Under Whitaker, Lehigh's assets nearly tripled, its endowment more than doubled and the Dravo House and McClintic-Marshall House residence halls were built. The Centennial development program raised more than $22 million for faculty salaries and construction that later included Whitaker Laboratory.
Whitaker died in office in 1960.
Donald B. Stabler earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in civil engineering. A long-time member of the Lehigh’s Board of Trustees, he also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the university. Stabler started his own successful contracting company called Stabler Companies Inc.
In 1966, he and his wife created the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Endowed Scholarship Fund to ensure a Lehigh education would always be accessible to students. Their generosity created the Stabler Athletic and Convocation Center, the Dorothy L. Stabler Tower in Iacocca Hall, and established the Stabler Excellence in Teaching Award.
Stabler passed away in 1997. After his wife’s passing in 2008, Lehigh received $34.2 million, its largest gift to date. The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation also named the Stabler Wing in the STEPS Building and gifted 755 acres of land in Upper Saucon Township.
The Right Rev. William Bacon Stevens, fourth bishop of the Episcopal church of Pennsylvania, was the first president of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees. Stevens advised Asa Packer on the founding of Lehigh University and said later that Packer’s initial gift of $500,000 “was the noblest offering which an American had ever laid on the altar of learning.”
Stevens was instrumental in choosing Lehigh’s name and designing its official seal to represent the three elements of the Trinity. He also helped select Henry Coppée, his brother in-law, as Lehigh’s first president.
Born in Maine, Stevens studied medicine and served as Georgia’s state historian before he was ordained to the priesthood in 1844.
In accordance with the university’s bylaws, the Bishop of Pennsylvania, and later the Bishop of Bethlehem, served as presidents of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees until 1907, about a decade after Lehigh had ended its formal affiliation with the Episcopal Church.
Campus Square, located on Packer Campus at the intersection of Morton and New Streets, opened in August 2002 to provide students with more on-campus housing and integrate Lehigh more effectively into the South Bethlehem community. The plaza of buildings opens out to South Bethlehem and includes an apartment complex that houses 244 upper-class students in two-, three- and four-person apartments; a parking garage; the university bookstore; The Cup, an ice cream shop operated by the Bethlehem Dairy Store; Johnny’s Bagels and Deli; and Mail at Campus Square, the university’s official post office. A central courtyard welcomes everyday socialization and can be reserved for special events.
On Thursdays from May through October, Campus Square hosts the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market, which features local produce, baked and handmade goods, lunches and live music.
In October 2015, Campus Square will be dedicated Farrington Square in recognition of the contributions of Gregory C. Farrington, Lehigh’s 12th president.
John J. Gibson, Class of 1895, penned Lehigh’s alma mater in 1895-1896. Set to the tune of "Amici," arranged by Thornton W. Allen, it is an expression of Lehigh pride to this day.
Where the Lehigh's rocky rapids
Rush from out the West,
Mid a grove of spreading chestnuts
Walls in ivy dressed.
On the breast of old South Mountain
Reared against the sky,
Stands our noble Alma Mater,
Stands our dear Lehigh.
Like a watchman on the mountain
Stands she grandly bold,
Earth's and Heaven's secret seeking,
Hoarding them like gold.
All she wrests from Nature's storehouse
Naught escapes her eye,
Gives she gladly to her dear ones,
While we bless Lehigh.
We will ever live to love her,
Live to praise her name,
Live to make our lives add luster
To her glorious fame.
Let the glad notes wake the echo,
Joyfully we cry:
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater;
Hail, all hail, Lehigh.