William C. Hittinger is a former chairman of the university's board of trustees, and became interim president after the departure of Peter Likins. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Hittinger served for 22 years on the board of trustees. He graduated from Lehigh in 1944 with a B.S. in metallurgical engineering, and received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Lehigh in 1973.
Over a 40-year career in the electronics industry, Hittinger worked for Western Electric Co., National Union Radio Corp., Bell Telephone Laboratories, Bellcomm Inc., General Instrument Corp. and RCA Corp. At Bellcomm, he oversaw systems engineering for NASA's manned spaceflight program, and at RCA, where he became executive vice president, he was responsible for corporate technology, patents, licensing, international business and marketing development, and corporate technology planning.
Hittinger was a member of President Reagan's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee from 1982-86. He was also a member of the U.S.-Brazil Presidential Committee on Science and Technology and a member of the board of directors for eight companies.
Hittinger served as national president of the Lehigh Alumni Association from 1971-72 and received the prestigious L-in-Life award in 1979. An ROTC student at Lehigh, Hittinger served in the U.S. Army from 1943-46 during World War II, rising to the rank of captain.
During Hittinger's term as chairman of the board of trustees, Lehigh began construction of the Zoellner Arts Center, completed the Ulrich Student Center, aggressively improved its financial aid for undergraduates and completed the $305 million Campaign for Preserving the Vision. As president, Hittinger realigned the Iacocca Institute into the College of Business and Economics, oversaw the construction of the new Sayre Park Village residential complex and helped Lehigh move forward during a time of presidential transition.