George White, longtime professor of educational leadership at Lehigh, will bring more than 28 years of experience and service to Lehigh as the first Managing Director for Student Access and Success.
This new university-wide position was created to champion Lehigh’s efforts to expand access to the university for first generation and lower-income students. These efforts include Lehigh’s participation in the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance between the nation’s top-performing colleges and universities that aims to increase the number of high-achieving, low-income students who graduate from top-tier institutions; its recently announced partnership with the Posse Foundation, which seeks to expand educational opportunities for inner-city high school students in the Bay Area of California; the university’s ongoing commitment to meet 100 percent of every student’s demonstrated financial need; and other initiatives that aim to make a Lehigh education available to students of all backgrounds.
White will be responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive set of university-wide strategies addressing recruitment and admission, financial aid, student life, academic coaching and advisement, and postgraduate support designed to meet the needs of first-generation and low-income students.
“Far too many talented and highly qualified young people don’t seek admission to and graduate from top-tier institutions like Lehigh, simply because they don’t believe the opportunity is there,” said Donald Outing, Vice President for Equity and Community. “Our mission is to change that by ensuring that Lehigh can identify, recruit, enroll, support and graduate a significantly higher number of first-generation and low-income students. We’re thrilled that George will contribute his vast experience and enthusiasm to this important work.”
White said that he is “excited and proud to have the opportunity to work with faculty and staff to identify and support highly talented students who may not have considered that Lehigh was a possibility for them. “Being a first-generation student from a low-income family myself many years ago, I know how difficult it was to navigate college culture,” he said. “I believe that, through our actions, we can support these students and strengthen Lehigh through their presence.”
White has served for nearly three decades as a faculty member in the College of Education, specializing in preparing leaders for K-12 education at the local, national, and international levels. He served as the founding director for the Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders and led Lehigh’s Community School initiative with the Bethlehem Area School District’s Donegan Elementary and Broughal Middle School. He has also served as program director for the educational leadership program, as a three-time chair of the Faculty Steering Committee, and has served on every major university-level faculty committee. White has been the Iacocca Professor of Education and a Class of ’61 Professor, and has also received several awards during his tenure at Lehigh, including the R.R. and E.C. Hillman Faculty Award for excellence in scholarship, teaching and service; the Hillman Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising; and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for distinguished teaching.
Lehigh President John D. Simon said he has the utmost confidence that White will excel in his new role and, by extension, help the university succeed in its ongoing efforts to expand access to a Lehigh education. “The socio-economic diversification of our student body is a priority because it enables Lehigh to compete for and attract the most talented students,” Simon said. “Such diversity improves the educational experience for all students and is essential to create a modern educated workforce capable of powering the economy of the future.”