David Morency ’18, a Presidential Scholar who will graduate from the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors program (IBE) at Lehigh with dual majors in finance and industrial systems and engineering, has won a prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship for study in China.
Morency is the first Lehigh student selected for the Schwarzman Scholarship, which was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford and designed to prepare future global leaders to meet the geopolitical challenges of the 21st century.
"David's career trajectory is straight up,” said Bill Hunter, director of Fellowship Advising and UN Programs at Lehigh. “He's fully prepared for the challenges ahead and will no doubt succeed in the Schwarzman program and wherever life takes him thereafter. We are very proud of him. He epitomizes Lehigh's goal of educating multidimensional, globally competent graduates ready to take on grand challenges.”
Morency will join the Class of 2020 in pursuing a master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The class announcement was made Monday morning (Dec. 3).
One of 147 scholars selected from more than 2,800 applicants in a rigorous application process, Morency will begin his studies in China in August 2019. The scholars will be able to pursue an individually designed concentration, drawing from courses that include public policy, international studies, economics and business. They also will have an opportunity to travel throughout China.
“My hope is that a year in Beijing will inspire and challenge these students in ways they haven’t even imagined,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman and CEO of the private equity firm, the Blackstone Group, and chairman of Schwarzman Scholars. “I look forward to seeing how this new class will leave its mark.”
Morency distinguished himself while at Lehigh. He was among the students honored at Lehigh’s 39th Honors Convocation, and he was nominated to represent the P.C. College of Engineering and Applied Science as a student speaker at the ceremony. At Lehigh, he founded the CREATE Club, a student-led entrepreneurship group, and was one of the managers of the College of Business and Economics’ Thompson International Portfolio. He is fluent in Mandarin.
"It is an honor to be able to learn from and contribute to the Schwarzman Scholars community," Morency said. "I am particularly excited to study the intersection of entrepreneurship, finance and public policy in China with the incoming cohort. This experience will enable us to further the interconnectedness and innovative capacity of our global community.
"I am grateful to Lehigh University for the truly interdisciplinary and international education that prepared me for this next opportunity," he added. "Lehigh’s Integrated Business & Engineering Program, Martindale Student Associates Program and Chinese Department were central to my development as an undergraduate."
The Schwarzman Scholarship program launched in 2015. The newly announced class is made up of students from 38 countries and 119 universities, with 40 percent originating from the United States, 20 percent from China and 40 percent from elsewhere around the globe.
"The Schwartzman Scholars was conceptualized in order to help future leaders better understand China, and to provide them with the firsthand knowledge and relationships necessary to foster cooperation between our countries," said Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost of international affairs at Lehigh. "This fellowship will particularly equip David to leverage his Lehigh education to advance U.S. and China collaboration."
Schwarzman, who created the scholarship, has contributed more than $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $500 million to endow the program in perpetuity.
Hunter, who served on the Schwarzman Selection Committee for the first two years of the program, said he gained a deep appreciation for the outstanding young people—future global thought leaders—who were selected.
“I had no doubt that David, our first-ever candidate for this illustrious award, had a truly exceptional portfolio and would be a strong contender," he said. "His commitment to lead by empowering others is remarkable and certainly strengthened his application."