Countdown to 150

Looking Back: The People, The Places, the Traditions

In Fall 2015, 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. 

  • The Women's Center

    61. The Women’s Center

    Prompted by the efforts of a computer science graduate in 1989, Lehigh’s Women’s Center grew out of a report recommending the establishment of support services for women at Lehigh. It was officially opened in 1991 and staffed by one individual who was also responsible for child care. The first full-time director was hired in 1999, following a review of the needs of female students, faculty and staff.

    Now part of the Student Affairs division and located in the University Center, the Women’s Center is a vibrant, active and engaging center led by Rita Jones, the former coordinator and assistant professor of the Women’s Studies program at the University of Northern Colorado. Jones introduced an approach that combines leadership, advocacy, research and outreach to the Lehigh community and beyond.

    Today, the center helps foster a campus climate in which all women can work to achieve their personal and professional goals in an equitable, supportive and intellectually challenging environment.

  • Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi ‘62

    62. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi ‘62

    Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi was 12 when he joined a training program offered by the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Aramco), the world’s largest energy company. Through the program, he studied at the International College, Beirut, and the American University of Beirut before receiving a B.S. in geology from Lehigh in 1962 and an M.S. from Stanford University in 1963.

    Al-Naimi rose through the ranks at Aramco, serving as CEO from 1988 through 2015. He is currently the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for Saudi Arabia.

    In 2008, Al-Naimi was named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people. In 2012, he was invited to deliver the address at Lehigh’s 144th commencement. “Very few people reach the position you have reached,” he told the graduates. “With that comes wonderful opportunities. But it also brings a responsibility to use your knowledge, as I have tried, to bring about progress and positive change.” 

  • Global village students

    63. The Global Village

    A brainchild of Lee Iacocca ’45, Lehigh’s Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry brings aspiring leaders from around the world to Lehigh each summer. Since its founding in 1997, nearly 1,800 “interns” from 133 countries have been part of the cross-cultural experience, celebrating the value of international diversity as they work together to strengthen their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

    Interns take field trips, do community service and work on consulting projects for international and domestic companies. Courses are taught by Lehigh faculty and industry experts, with assistance from more than 100 companies and organizations.

    One 2014 intern was struck by a comment made by a fellow intern. “He said that whenever he looks at a world map from now on, he won’t see cities or countries, he will see people. I see that now. I’ve learned a lot from other people around the world. They’re my family.”

  • Clement Clarence Williams, Lehigh's seventh president

    64. Lehigh’s seventh president

    Renowned civil engineer Clement Clarence Williams was Lehigh’s seventh president.

    He came to Lehigh from the University of Iowa, where he was dean of the college of engineering. Earlier, he had worked as highway, bridge and railroad engineer, including for a time with the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and in various roles at other universities.

    At Lehigh, undergraduate enrollment rose to an all-time high under Williams, surpassing 2,000 students in 1938. Richards and Drinker residential houses, the Ullmann wing of the Chandler Chemistry Laboratory, and Grace Hall, the first arena-type facility on campus, were built. (Grace Hall was a gift of then-Board Chair Eugene G. Grace, an 1899 graduate.)

    Williams, who also taught at Lehigh and wrote many books, was well-known in the structural engineering field. He designed plants for the production of explosives and was the supervising engineer for the War Department in World War I. 

  • Rauch Business Center

    65. Rauch Business Center

    The Rauch Business Center rises at the site of the former Taylor Stadium at E. Packer Avenue and Taylor Street. Home to the College of Business and Economics, the Center is named for the building’s chief benefactor, the late Philip Rauch ’33, retired board chairman of the Parker Hannifan Corp. in Ohio.

    The five-story, 115,000-square-foot building, dedicated in October 1990, allowed Lehigh to consolidate the business school’s operations and programs, which had been scattered around campus. It boasts classrooms, auditoriums, seminar and conference rooms and a Financial Services Laboratory. The building, which will mark its 25th anniversary this fall, also looks out on a large courtyard.

    The Center became a reality after Lehigh moved its football stadium to the Goodman Campus.

    Rauch earned his varsity letters in both football and wrestling while at Lehigh. He also was benefactor of the Rauch Field House on the Goodman campus.

  • Maria Chrin '87

    66. Maria Chrin ’87

    When the student group Women in Business held its inaugural conference in 2015, with the goal of inspiring students as they prepare to launch careers, Maria L. Chrin ’87 fittingly delivered the keynote address. Chrin, who serves on Lehigh’s Board of Trustees, spoke of her own path to success, as she overcame challenges to become founder and managing partner of Circle Wealth Management LLC, an independent financial advisory firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. 

    In 2014, Chrin was selected as one of 40 Women to Watch over 40. She was also ranked as one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisers by the Financial Times.

    Chrin and her husband, John Chrin ’85 ’86, are committed philanthropists, supporting higher education and women’s financial literacy, with a focus on the Hispanic community in the United States and on her native country of Honduras.

  • The United Nations building

    67. United Nations-Lehigh Partnership

    In the 2014-2015 academic year, Lehigh celebrated the 10th anniversary of its partnership with one of the world’s most influential organizations, the United Nations.

    In 2004, when Lehigh gained official recognition as a non-governmental organization by the UN Department of Public Information, it was just the just the sixth university in the world to have that status. Thanks to the ongoing relationship, Lehigh students and faculty can attend UN programs and host international dignitaries and events on campus.  In 2006, Lehigh created the world’s first NGO Youth Representative Program, which allows students to work with NGOs from around the world, attending briefings and conferences on their behalf.

    Lehigh makes the UN accessible to all students, helping faculty members integrate it into their curricula, running buses to New York City and hosting dignitaries on campus several times a semester.

  • Roger S. Penske ‘59

    68. Roger S. Penske ‘59

    Racing legend Roger S. Penske ’59 was named the Sports Car Club of America Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1961. He went on to become a racing legend. However, rather than try out for the Indianapolis 500 in 1965, Penske chose to focus on the Chevrolet dealership he had purchased with a loan from his father. A year later he started a race team that would become one of the most successful in IndyCar Series and NASCAR racing. 

    Chairman and CEO of the Penske Automotive Group and Penske Corporation, Penske served as chairman of Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan and chairs the Downtown Detroit Partnership. The Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame, located in Taylor Gymnasium, recognizes athletes who have made substantial and significant contributions to Lehigh University. 

  • Richard Verma ’90

    69. Richard Verma ’90

    Since he graduated from Lehigh in 1990 with a B.S. in industrial engineering and a minor in international relations, Richard Verma’s life has been on an upward trajectory.

    Verma attended Lehigh on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He earned a law degree from American University and an international law degree from Georgetown, and then served as a judge advocate for the Air Force and a national security adviser to members of Congress.

    As assistant secretary of state under Hillary Clinton, Verma led the Obama administration’s negotiations with Congress for new sanctions on Iran while working for passage of the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia. He received the Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department’s highest civilian honor.

    In 2014, President Obama nominated Verma to be U.S. ambassador to India, the world’s largest democracy. Unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Verma became the first Indian-American to serve as ambassador in a major country.

  • Gryphons

    70. The Gryphon Society

    In Greek mythology, Gryphons are winged beasts—half eagle, half lion—and keepers of the gold.

    At Lehigh, Gryphons also protect the "gold" —students. Lehigh Gryphons are mentors, advocates, programmers and role models for the more than 2,400 students living in residence halls on campus, and they are the enforcers of university policies as well.

    The Gryphon society, which has 102 student members, has more than doubled in size since it was founded in 1957 by a group of residence hall counselors, who promoted the idea of a "living group" as a way to bond both socially and professionally. These first Gryphons advised freshmen academically and personally and maintained discipline in the residence halls. Today's Gryphons have expanded roles and a broader reach as they strive to improve students' residential experiences.

  • Paul J. Franz Jr. ‘44

    71. Paul J. Franz Jr. ‘44

    He was known as Mr. Lehigh and as America’s Dean of Development. Paul J. Franz Jr. ‘44 served Lehigh for six decades, starting as assistant to the president for development, rising to become vice president for development and university relations, and continuing as a consultant throughout his retirement.

    During the years when Franz guided Lehigh’s development office, the university raised more than $300 million, two-thirds of that in the 1980s alone. The Chronicle of Higher Education said Franz embodied Lehigh. Harvard tried to hire him away. Franz said no; he was a Lehigh man.

    Alumni and professors credited Franz’s unprecedented success to his warmth and charm, to his ability to develop and sustain lifelong friendships, to the witty stories he told, to his tireless cultivation of the thank-you note. In 1996, the faculty bestowed upon Franz the rank of Professor Honoris Causa, in grateful recognition of his significant and enduring contributions to the university. 

  • Tara Stacom ’80

    72. Tara Stacom ’80

    Upon earning a bachelor’s in finance in 1980, Tara Stacom joined Time Inc.'s HBO division and embarked on a sales career in New York City. A year later, when the division was shut down, she went to work for commercial real-estate giant Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

    Today, Stacom is renowned for her ability to match properties and clients. As executive vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, she has completed some of the industry’s largest and most complex leasing, sales and corporate finance transactions.

    In 2007, she won the exclusive leasing rights to America’s most famous building: the 1,776-foot-high One World Trade Center and its 3 million square feet of office space.

    In 2009, to connect students and alumni with notable figures in real estate, Stacom endowed the Stacom Family Speaker Series in the Integrated Real Estate at Lehigh (ire@l) Program in Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics.

  • Clarence the Wonder Dog

    73. Clarence the Wonder Dog

    When you attend a Lehigh sporting event today, you’ll see Clutch the Mountain Hawk cheering from the sidelines. But Lehigh’s unofficial mascot in the 1920s was an entirely different creature: Clarence the Wonder Dog.

    Described as “a brindle-colored dog of uncertain origin and less certain breed” by The Brown and White in 1935, Clarence had an uncanny ability to “predict” the scores of Lehigh football games. A small group of students would paint final scores on the dog’s sides a week before each Lafayette game. According to The Brown and White, Clarence’s predictions were correct nine years in a row.

    After 14 years of faithful service to Lehigh, Clarence died at the age of 16 on May 23, 1923. He was interred in the Taylor Hall quad, where his headstone remains 92 years later.

  • Mark Antony de Wolfe Howe and Joe Morgenstern '53

    74. Pulitzer winners

    Eighty years apart, two alums took home the prestigious Pulitzer Prize

    Editor and author Mark Antony de Wolfe Howe, who graduated from Lehigh in 1886, won a Pulitzer in 1925 in Biography for Barrett Wendell and his Letters. In 2005, Joe Morgenstern '53, a film critic for The Wall Street Journal, won a Pulitzer for Criticism. 

    At Lehigh, Howe was a member of the university choir, the Lehigh Burr satirical magazine, and Chi Phi fraternity.  He wrote biographies, history, and poetry and taught the first American Literature class at Harvard, where he received a master’s in 1888.

    Morgenstern earned his bachelor’s in English at Lehigh. He was a disc jockey for WLRN, a member of Cyanide, the junior leadership honor society, and the Phi Eta Sigma honors fraternity, and he was president of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. Before joining WSJ, he worked as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and as a movie critic at Newsweek.

  • Peter Rossin

    75. Peter C. Rossin ‘48 (1923-2003)

    The future held high promise for Peter C. Rossin when he graduated from Lehigh in 1948 with a B.S. in metallurgical engineering. Rossin, a U.S. Air Force pilot during World War II, was offered one of two slots in Bethlehem Steel’s Executive Loop Course. But he turned down the opportunity, saying he was more interested in “new techniques, new metals and new markets.”

    Rossin went on to earn a master’s degree from Yale and work at several metals companies. In 1967 he founded Dynamet Inc., which made titanium alloy products for the aerospace, chemical, medical and petroleum industries. In 1997, Rossin sold Dynamet to Carpenter Technology Corp. In 1998, he and his wife, Ada, established a $25-million endowment, the largest gift ever made to Lehigh, to name the engineering college.

    “I feel you owe a debt to society,” he said, “and to the institutions that were fundamental to your success.”

  • Community Programs

    76. Community Programs

    Lehigh is teaming with the City of Bethlehem to create a series of programs that aim to reinvigorate the South Bethlehem community, spur economic development and improve safety.

    Lehigh helps fund the Community Ambassadors, who work to beautify and clean up the South Bethlehem commercial district. The ambassadors remove litter and graffiti daily from sidewalks and other public areas, maintain tree wells and flowers, assist with parking and hospitality efforts, help pedestrians and clear snow.

    The university and the city are also attempting to improve safety on and off campus. New security cameras have been installed in neighborhoods tied to Lehigh and the city’s emergency response system. New beat-patrol officers have been added and weekend police patrols increased. In 2014, Lehigh began offering EmergenSee, a free app for iPhone and Android phones, to members of the campus community. EmergenSee serves as a mobile, personal security system.

  • Catherine Engelbert ’86

    77. Catherine Engelbert ’86

    Catherine Engelbert ’86 made history in 2015 as the new 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.

    Engelbert, who has a bachelor’s in accounting and serves on Lehigh’s Accounting Advisory Board, assumed her new role in March.

    The news of her selection spread quickly through social media, with congratulatory tweets that included “Here’s to glass ceilings being broken!” and “Wow, this is incredibly inspiring.”
    Engelbert joined Deloitte after graduating from Lehigh and rose through the ranks there as an accountant. According to the firm, she has a distinguished track record of serving several of Deloitte’s largest and most complex global clients. In her new role, she oversees the company’s approximately 65,000 employees and nearly $15 billion in annual revenue.

  • Aerial view of Lehigh's Mountaintop Campus

    78. Mountaintop Campus

    Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus was originally home to Bethlehem Steel’s Homer Research Laboratory. The laboratory’s buildings covered approximately 75 acres atop South Mountain and housed the Bethlehem Steel researchers studying physics and metallurgy, chemistry, ceramics, chemical engineering and industrial health.

    In 1987, following the decline of the steel giant, Lehigh purchased five of the eight buildings and 742 acres of land from the company for $18.75 million. This purchase connected the Asa Packer and Goodman campuses and provided 370,000 new square feet of floor space.

    Today, Mountaintop Campus houses the College of Education, the department of biological sciences, the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, the Health Research Hub, the Energy Research Center, and the ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Center.

    In 2013, Lehigh acquired two additional buildings at Mountaintop and, thanks to a $20 million gift from Scott Belair ’69, launched the innovative and student-driven Mountaintop initiative. 

  • Arcadia

    79. Student Senate

    The first student government body was founded at Lehigh in 1904. Known as Arcadia, it aimed to uphold the honor code and promote student activities. Representatives initially came from campus organizations and sports teams and later from fraternities and residence halls.  Eventually, students came to feel that they were not being heard by administrators, and in 1970, the group disbanded.

    Students protested to demand greater input in university activities and decision-making, and subsequently, the Forum was formed. At first, the body had equal representation from students and faculty. But in 1988, with enthusiasm lacking and the groups not coming together as intended, its members voted to split into faculty and student groups. The Student Senate was established to address student issues and to recognize and allocate funds to clubs. 

    Student Senate XXVIII was recently formed for the 2015-16 school year. It will continue to deal with diversity and inclusion, safety, transportation on campus and other topics.

  • The Saluda Dam in South Carolina

    80. William Spencer Murray, Sr.

    One notable alum has a unique legacy: a 50,000-acre lake.

    William Spencer Murray graduated from Lehigh in 1895 with a degree in electrical engineering. Murray began as an apprentice and rose up the ranks at the Westinghouse Electric plant in East Pittsburgh, Pa. Murray later served as chief engineer for the electrification of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. He held leadership positions at the Housatonic Power Co. in Connecticut and the Connecticut Light & Power Co.

    In 1930, Murray and his business partner completed the construction of a dam on the Saluda River in South Carolina. The Saluda Dam, designed to provide flood control and supply hydroelectric power to the state, was the world’s largest earthen dam at the time.

    The dam also created what was then the world’s largest man-made lake: Lake Murray, which continues to serve the region as a recreational attraction and source of hydroelectric power.