Lehigh University kicked off the public phase of a $1 billion-plus fundraising and engagement effort, the most ambitious campaign in its history, and announced a $20 million gift from Lehigh Board of Trustees Chair Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P and Lisa A. Clayton ’13P, both longtime benefactors of the university.
At an on-campus celebration, Lehigh President John D. Simon unveiled GO: The Campaign for Lehigh to provide Lehigh with the resources it needs to grow into a more impactful and powerful university. The event marks the beginning of the public phase of the comprehensive campaign. To date, $550 million has been raised toward the $1 billion-plus goal.
The campaign is chaired by four distinguished alumni—Maria L. Chrin ’87 ’10P, Jordan Hitch ’88 ’20P ’21P, James R. Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P, and Mark Yeager ’81—with support from four additional honorary chairs whose names grace the Lehigh campus and are iconic in their support of Lehigh’s mission—Murray H. Goodman ’48, Lee A. Iacocca ’45, Joseph R. Perella ’64, and Daniel E. Smith Jr. ’71.
GO: The Campaign for Lehigh is a historic, comprehensive undertaking that encompasses hundreds of initiatives to support Lehigh’s four colleges, athletics, international programs, West Coast initiatives, and more. University-wide priorities coalesce around three key areas: student access and opportunity, high-impact learning experiences, and research and distinction.
Specifically, the campaign will raise money for scholarships, financial aid, student success programs, and facilities, including the University Center and the new Bridge West residence hall, to ensure talented students have access to the Lehigh experience and a vibrant environment in which they can thrive.
It will also support Lehigh’s distinctive academic and experiential learning endeavors, including the new College of Health, to prepare students for success in today’s rapidly changing world.
In addition, the campaign will fuel Lehigh’s community of researchers and thought-leaders, who are pursuing groundbreaking discoveries and driving progress. Top initiatives around research include the establishment of Interdisciplinary Research Institutes and the construction of a modern research facility, the Health, Science, and Technology building.
The campaign also aims to strengthen the connection between its alumni and the university by increasing alumni engagement in programs, events, and volunteer opportunities.
“This is a truly comprehensive campaign—one that will advance every aspect of our university,” Simon said. “We already stand proudly as one of the finest universities in the country, and our success in this campaign will only propel us forward into an even brighter future.”
The gift from Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton will bolster one of the campaign’s key initiatives: the renovation and expansion of the University Center to create a welcoming environment where students can grow into capable and compassionate leaders. The renovated University Center will be known as the Clayton University Center at Packer Hall.
“I’d like to extend my gratitude to Lisa and Kevin for their exemplary leadership and for their generous contribution to advance one of the university’s top priorities,” said Simon. “The expansion of the University Center, positioned in the heart of campus, will greatly enhance the student experience, providing an environment that fosters leadership, learning, collaboration, and connections, helping to shape Lehigh students far into the future.”
The renovation and expansion of the University Center will preserve the historic nature of the building while creating a dynamic, state-of-the-art environment for student life. Along with the new Bridge West residence hall, these welcoming spaces will draw people from all corners of the campus to meet, dine, socialize, study, attend events, or merely be in the presence of fellow community members. The new facilities will better serve the practical needs of today's students and create an environment that fosters leadership, learning, and achievement. Construction on the University Center is expected to commence in 2019 with a targeted completion date of 2022.
“I am the son of a Lehigh alumnus and have experienced Lehigh as a student, a Lehigh parent, trustee, interim president, and now chair of the board, so I have a unique perspective on the way student life has evolved at Lehigh,” Clayton said. “A thoughtful restoration that preserves the historic distinction of this building while freeing up interior spaces to be more functional will draw members of the campus community to this central gathering spot and can have a significant, positive impact on the Lehigh student, faculty, and staff experience. Lisa and I agree that supporting this project will benefit not just students but our whole community for generations to come.”
Kevin and Lisa have supported Lehigh in many ways over the years, including establishing the William L. ’51 and Carol L. Clayton Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Kevin L. Clayton ’84 and Lisa A. Clayton Endowed Scholarship Fund. Their contributions also include supporting the Annual Fund, the Athletics Partnership Program, programming initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Business and Economics Dean’s Strategic Initiatives Fund. In 2013, they continued their commitment to support Lehigh by endowing the Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P and Lisa A. Clayton ’13P Deanship for the College of Business and Economics.
Clayton served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1993 to 1999 and again since 2005. He was the interim president for the 2014-15 academic year. In April 2017, he was named chair of the Board of Trustees.
“We’re excited to launch this comprehensive campaign that, among other initiatives, will build on Lehigh’s commitment to creating a diverse, vibrant community of the most talented students, regardless of their financial capacity,” said James R. Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P, campaign co-chair.
“Lehigh has always been a place for hands-on and distinctive student learning experiences and impactful research,” added Maria L. Chrin ’87 ’10P, campaign co-chair. “With the focused, strategic investments encompassed by the campaign, Lehigh can continue to cultivate our learning and research environment, powering the ideas that promise to change our world for the better.”
Lehigh’s celebration of “GO: The Campaign for Lehigh” will continue with kick-off events scheduled in New York City on Friday, October 26, and in San Francisco on Saturday, October 27.
To learn more about GO: The Campaign for Lehigh, visit http://gocampaign.lehigh.edu.