GO: The Campaign for Lehigh – San Francisco Launch Program


[INTERPOSING VOICES] [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [MUSIC PLAYING] GO. [END PLAYBACK] Please welcome the 14th
president of Lehigh University, John D. Simon. [APPLAUSE] Welcome. It’s an amazing setting
for our event tonight. It’s wonderful to be able
to look out from the stage here and see Lehigh alumni,
our students in the Dateline Silicon Valley
Program, volunteers, our partners in the Bay
Area, and lifelong friends and supporters of this
great institution. We’re all here tonight as
the united Lehigh community to publicly launch GO:
The Campaign for Lehigh. GO will ensure student access
and promote student success. GO will enable projects like
the renovation and expansion of the University Center and the
new Bridge West Residence Hall. GO will grow our distinctive
experiences like Lehigh at NASDAQ center and
provide new opportunities for interdisciplinary high
impact learning, including a new College of Health. GO will fuel research
and thought leadership by our faculty, students,
coaches, and staff, bringing distinction
to the university. GO will raise more
than a billion dollars to support our aspirations. And more than half
has already been raised through our
campaign quiet phase. It’s perfectly
fitting that we’re launching this public phase
on Founder’s Day weekend. A campaign launch is as
much about a celebration of those who have
supported and advanced Lehigh since its
founding in 1865 as it is about the
future we envision. Just walk around campus– think about the
names you encounter– Packard Labs, Zoellner Arts
Center, Rauch Business Center, Linderman Library, Iacocca
Hall, the P.C. Rossin College, and the Murray H.
Goodman campus. These names and others
recognize individuals who shaped Lehigh at different
points in its history with compelling vision
and financial support. Every day, I walk
through Leadership Plaza on my long commute
between the president’s house and my office. The benches that sit
along the walkway are etched with the names
of our most generous donors. Many in our community have
established fellowships, professorships, and
scholarships that support students and faculty. And many here tonight
were the beneficiaries of such scholarships. Our donors, who made Lehigh
what it is today, envisioned opportunity, sought ways to
have an impact and took action. They had what I
call a GO moment– a moment when their passion
for this great institution led them to make a gift so that
from that moment on, students, faculty, and staff
would be assured that Lehigh will continue
to provide excellence in education. Tonight is actually
very special for me. It’s going to be an
evening about GO moments. And I want to talk about
a transformative GO moment for Lehigh that involves you. I worked in Los Angeles,
San Diego from 1983 to 1998. And during that time, I
came to San Francisco a lot for scientific meetings. And I had a collaborator
at UC Berkeley. And I thought I
understood California. Three years ago, yesterday,
October 26, 2015, I actually had my inaugural roadshow– John Welty will remember this. We were at the St.
Francis Yacht Club. It’s a great event. I met a lot of you
actually there. And I was working the
room that evening. And I was asked the
following question– are you ever coming
back to California during your presidency? Well, I thought about that. Tonight actually marks my
16th trip to the Bay Area since I became president. People are really happy
about this or United Airlines and Hilton Hotels, which
have actually logged over 60 of my nights in the Bay Area. Question is why? And it all began, actually,
with my second trip out here on January
2016 when I attended Lehigh in Silicon Valley. And that’s when I learned I
didn’t understand California at all. People up here
envision the future. They make it real. And when you think about what
Lehigh’s about in our strengths in engineering and in
business, and how those relate, it was really clear that Lehigh
University has to be here in some meaningful way. Our students need to experience
what happens out here on the West Coast. Later that year, actually,
June 28, to be exact, Lisa Getzler, who’s also
with us here tonight, is the executive director
of the Baker Institute, comes into my office
and presents the idea that maybe we could become
the educational partner of the NASDAQ
Entrepreneurial Center. I had no idea what that was. And I had no idea
what that meant. But two weeks later, Pat Farrell
and I were on a plane out here. And it was our first exposure
to what I call the deal room in the NASDAQ Center. And we met with
Nicola Corzine, who’s the executive director
and Celena Aponte, who’s the director of
strategic initiatives. And we sort of decided that day
that we were going to do this. And we had no idea
what we were doing. I consider that
to be a GO moment. And then the week of
September, we signed the deal. And we announced it
at the first year anniversary of the NASDAQ Center
on the 27th of September, 2016. We followed that in October with
the opening of the West Coast Regional Office where
we’re now focused on academic programs,
student recruitment, corporate partnerships,
and career placement. What I never would
have predicted is what happened over
the last couple years. I’m going to signal– I’m going to call
some of you out here. Tom Gillis actually convinced me
that if you’re going to do it, you go all in. And Tom with Sam
DeVault and Dan Lopresti actually put together
our first course from out here, which was women
in technology, which has been very popular back on campus. And it’s taught at
the NASDAQ Center. Craig Gordon reached out
to me through Jack Lule. Both are here tonight. And it’s been a lot of fun
to brainstorm with Craig about what can happen out here. And I think his attitude
is just go for it. Dennis Singleton– trustee– lives in Bay Area here– who basically always would
push me to go for broke– pushed me to think
big, right, just think, let your mind expand
what can actually happen? How can Lehigh relate out here? And then Ann Lewnes, in her
very subtle way, I think, told us to either
go big or go home. So Ann, I like to
say we went big. Who would have imagined that
our connections with the NASDAQ Center out here
would have led us to a partnership with
Ashoka University around entrepreneurship. Who would have thought that
Lehigh would have programs in the Bay Area that empower
students with the mindset, skill set, and tools to
succeed as entrepreneurs and innovators. Programs like what
George at Phillips started this summer
in startup academy, where at the end
of that experience, 4 of the 12 students actually
got job offers in the startups that they joined. And I look at this as
just the beginning. This is the beginning of
what we can do out here, and what we can
provide our students. And this is what
GO is all about. And this is why we’re
launching our campaign out here in San Francisco. This area is part of
the future of Lehigh. And our great past
creates the foundation upon which we can actually do
the bold initiatives that we’re doing out here and
launch our campaign. So on this Founder’s
Day weekend, I want to thank everyone
who stepped forward to bring Lehigh to this moment. To our alumni donors,
friends, and volunteers, for your love of Lehigh. And your passion and commitment
enable us to be our very best. You all go bananas over Lehigh. And to our faculty and
staff, some of whom were with us tonight, you define
who we are as an institution. And in this competitive
world of higher education, you always go one better. You go the distance every day
in your pursuit of excellence. And to our students– and we
should never really forget, this is really
about our students. I like to call them
our future alumni. You inspire us. You are why we are here. We are committed to providing
you with the education and experiences needed so that
you can go from South Mountain and lead our world. GO: The Campaign for Lehigh
embodies our forward momentum. Our path is strategic,
and it is individualistic. And through this
campaign, we will further differentiate ourselves among
the best schools in the nation. Thank you for coming tonight. Enjoy the venue and
enjoy the evening. [APPLAUSE] Please welcome the chair of
the board of Lehigh University, Kevin L. Clayton. [APPLAUSE] Good evening and
welcome, everyone. And certainly, thank you
for being here this evening. On Thursday afternoon,
the board of trustees unanimously voted to launch
GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. As board chair, it was
my privilege and honor to sign the resolution
that formally moved Lehigh into the public phase
of this campaign. As many of you know,
I’ve been involved with Lehigh my whole life. I’m a son of an alumnus. I was obviously a student,
a Lehigh parent, trustee, interim president, and now,
your chair of the board. Through the years, I
personally witnessed some of Lehigh’s greatest
milestone moments. And I have seen our
campus grow in importance. And new initiatives take shape. Tonight, we are here as a group
to take another leap forward for our beloved alma mater. Never before have I felt such
promise for our institution. We know that higher education
is changing tremendously. We know that Lehigh students
are entering a challenging workforce. We also know that by
taking action today, our institution will
lead again tomorrow. So in typical Lehigh fashion,
we’re rolling up our sleeves, and we’re going for it. GO: The Campaign for Lehigh,
will prepare us for the future and keep us well
ahead of the curve. We will invest to ensure
that Lehigh continues to provide an
outstanding education, so our students can go forth
and succeed in this world. There’s no doubt about it. Our goal is ambitious. But I have complete
confidence that together, we are going to get this job done. I’d like to take a
moment and acknowledge the alumni and trustees who
are helping lead this effort. Our volunteers help even
our far-most flung alumni and friends. And I just don’t mean the
folks that reside here in the state of California– from around the globe to
stay connected to our vision and our purpose. And special thanks go to our
campaign event ambassadors, who have reached out to their
friends, their classmates, teammates, and colleagues to
bring our community together for events like what we saw on
campus Thursday night with well over 3,500 students attending
last night on the Intrepid in New York City and
certainly our wonderful affair this evening. I’d also like to recognize
the full board of trustees– President Simon and
his outstanding– and I mean outstanding
senior leadership team. Our development and
alumni relations team, and our outstanding faculty,
students, and staff, because without their collective
vision efforts and confidence, none of this would be possible. I’d also like to give a
special thanks to our campaign co-chairs– Maria Chrin, Jordan Hitch,
James Maida, and Mark Yeager. Thank you for your
forethought, your planning, and your hard work. You are setting the course
that will bring Lehigh to even greater
heights, a challenge that we all are called to rise. So I think we deserve
a round of applause. Thank you for your
commitment to Lehigh. [APPLAUSE] Lehigh people have
been the heart of this magnificent institution
for well over 150 years. And they’re the reason
we are embarking on this historic campaign. Here with us tonight
are three individuals whose Lehigh experiences
speak to the importance of our undertaking. Please join me in
listening to me as they tell their
Lehigh stories. Good evening. My name is Daniel
[INAUDIBLE] and I’m a senior at Lehigh University. When I first thought
of the phrase, college, I would think of
the classic phrase, best four years of your life. And our think further
into that, and I’d wonder, what components made college the
best four years of your life? And I almost made
a list for myself of all the things I thought the
perfect college experience was all about. So volunteering and research,
extracurricular activities, getting great grades and a job
and meeting amazing people, getting friends. And this was what
I came into Lehigh with– almost this list
of all the things I needed for the perfect
college experience. So my first year rolls around. And after a quick stroll
around the club fair, I find that I’ve
committed myself to 10 hours a week of singing
through the university choir in my acapella
group off the record. And as much as I enjoyed
singing with these groups, I couldn’t help but
wonder if maybe I wasn’t using my time wisely. And I’d start to feel guilty
spending all this time with the singing
extracurriculars rather than maybe volunteering,
doing more research, and all the things I thought
the perfect college experience was all about. And what really made
the guilt set in was just knowing how much a
financial sacrifice sending me to college was for
me and my family. And I couldn’t afford
to waste my time at Lehigh and my opportunities. And this was a thought
that kept creeping in the back of my mind
for the longest time. But it wasn’t until
the end of my sophomore year where everything changed. The end of my sophomore
year, I went on tour with the university
choir to Spain. We traveled all
across southern Spain and held concerts at
four different cities. And on this tour, I had a solo– this song called, If
I Got My Ticket, which is this huge
spiritual high energy piece we’d use at the end of
the concert as a great way to close it out. So we’re at the
third city, Cordoba, and we finished a concert. We get the woo’s and wa’s. It’s great. And I’m walking out
of the concert venue. And this man comes up to
me, trembling, takes my hand and just says thank you. And before I had
time to internalize that to react to it, this
woman comes up to me with a pen in the program and just
says, nombre, nombre, nombre. And I knew that word to me name. And here I am,
Daniel [INAUDIBLE] from Virginia, not John Legend
or Jamie Foxx or any big star. But here I am giving my first
international autograph. And that was it. That was the moment when
I realized my college experience was all about. See, Lehigh taught me that my
college experience was never about this list of all the
perfect things I thought I had to do to make it meaningful. Lehigh taught me that
my college experience was about impacting people. And it took me almost 4,000
miles and a few semesters for me to realize
that it doesn’t matter whether through researching or
volunteering or even singing, the power to impact
people is one of most beautiful things on this earth. And this is a mentality
I carried with me through my studies through
my roles as an admissions fellow, an orientation leader,
and through all my interactions on campus. My mom once said, you can’t
give what you don’t have. And I’m extremely
grateful for all that Lehigh’s given me from
the relationships, the memories and all the
opportunities I’ve had. I would never have
been able to go to Spain, never been able
to travel in New York City or my Ivy Capstone
Team or even enjoy an El Paso at the goose if not
for the generous donations I’ve received through scholarships. And I’ve been extremely
proud and continue to be proud of my
university for positioning itself to allow
other kids to feel exactly what I feel tonight. I’m proud of Lehigh for
enabling kids like me to access your full potential. And I can confidently
say through all the moments I’ve had
on campus, everything I’ve done that
Lehigh has enabled me to go do more and be more
than I ever thought possible. [APPLAUSE] Good evening. My name is Nadine Elsayed, and
I graduated Lehigh this past May in 2018. But I’ll be honest with you. Growing up, I never
wanted to go to Lehigh. I know it’s an edgy thing
to say in this room. But my dad, my
brother, and my sister had all attended the university. And I thought I knew everything
there was to know about it. Moreover, I was born just
across the river in Bethlehem. So South Mountain was a
backdrop of my entire childhood. And I thought it was
just too close to home. Little did I know how attending
a world-class institution in my hometown would
end up leading me on world-class adventures
so far from home. During my time at Lehigh, I
got to go abroad five times to completely paid-for
scholarships by alumni donors. Whether it was going
to the United Kingdom to publish research on Brexit
or traveling to Cambodia to learn more about
global citizenship or even interning at a
luxury magazine in Mulan, Lehigh fed my creative curiosity
by providing ample avenues for me to learn and grow
beyond the pages of a textbook. One of my most memorable
collegiate experiences, though, was when I
received the Dale S. Strohl Grant to tell a multimedia
account of Libyan refugees living in England. This family of six, also from
my hometown and Lehigh Valley, made a bold and radical decision
to move to Libya two weeks after a vacation. This is in 2010. Six months later, a
revolution sparks. Another six months later,
civil war breaks out. And this family of
six ended up getting stuck in Libya for four years. The Strohl Grant enabled
me to travel to England where they now reside and tell
a story that’s, on a conflict, still being written in
history books today. It was a story filled with
Civil War chaos and conflict. It was a story filled with
shared humanity and compassion. It was a story that
was necessary to tell, and one that Lehigh
enabled me to tell. But just as alumni provide
opportunities on campus, they very often provide
opportunities off campus as well. I had the pleasure of
meeting Ann Lewnes a year and a half ago, which
led to a internship at Adobe, where she is chief
marketing officer, which led to my full-time position
now in Silicon Valley. Ann, I know you’re
in the audience, and you’re probably mortified. But I will just say, thank
you for believing in me and for providing me this
opportunity at Adobe. Ann is a fearless leader
and one who I would honestly follow off of a cliff. So thank you, because it’s
now given me the opportunity to take the global
skills as I learned at Lehigh in my
hometown and apply them to a global company whose
products fuel creativity across cultural boundaries
every single day. I didn’t want to go to
Lehigh four years ago. And I know it sounds cliche. But now, I just can’t
imagine my life without it. I am so proud and
honored to have gone to an institution that
is so dedicated in providing unparalleled opportunities
to its students at any cost. It’s why I’m so
passionate about also providing those opportunities
for future Lehigh generations as well. It’s honestly made
me who I am today. And for that, Lehigh,
I am grateful. [APPLAUSE] Stepping into the
light, I’d like you to hold onto to that image. I’m Vassie Ware. I’m a molecular cell biologist
in the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh. I collaborate in
research and teaching with colleagues from
all over the university. With one of my
colleagues, Neil Simon, we direct two programs that are
changing the face of Lehigh– the rare and bioconnect
programs currently supported by the Howard
Hughes Medical Institute. My students and my
daughter actually tease me often about their
metaphors and analogies that I use. But they actually
appreciate that I can communicate in this way. I’m going to tell you a metaphor
tonight about an experience– stepping into the light or
stepping out of the darkness into the light. This reminds me of how
inspired I am to participate in the research experience. Why? Because we can unfold
something that is unknown. We can share the excitement
of creating something new. We can challenge a paradigm. We can illuminate something new
to create a model, a new model. As faculty, we
share our enthusiasm with our students
and our colleagues. And in the classroom and in
the research laboratories, we are able to embrace
the excitement that we have for our
research experiences and share again
those opportunities with our students. A research experience
is, in fact, a way for a student to reroute,
redefine and even disrupt things that they’ve
been thinking about, their perceptions of the world. It helps them to navigate
something different. It allows them to challenge
the unknown with greater determination and a
lot more confidence. I’m going to tell you a
story tonight about Joseph. Joseph was an undergraduate
in our SEA-PHAGES program. And one morning in our research
meeting, one of my colleagues, who teaches this
course with me, we were talking about viruses
that infect and kill bacteria. And I’m sure you want to
know why it is that we were talking about that. But that’s the nature of
the SEA-PHAGES course. And so Joseph had a question. He asked that question. And I know that he thought
there was an answer. But my colleague and
I knew otherwise. And Joseph was actually stunned. Actually, we did not know
the answer to the question, but we knew there was no
answer to that question. We told Joseph that
he had the opportunity to explore the answer
to that question. We had the tools to
carry out experiments that would allow us to do the
right experiments to challenge the answer to that question. And so we gave Joseph the
opportunity to explore, and he did. Now, what’s really
interesting about this story is that Joseph came back with
really unexpected results, in fact, surprising results. Yet, he was able to
reproduce those results. And one of the graduate
students in my laboratory was also able to, in
her hands, reproduce those results that Joseph had. And this, in fact, was
very important for us, because we realized that
this was actually real. So we communicated this
with the lead scientist of the SEA-PHAGES program. And what started
was a collaboration between our laboratories. We then carried out
additional experiments. There was a seminal publication
and a very prominent journal. It started a whole
line of investigation that had never
before been explored between our laboratories. It provided opportunities
for graduate students and undergraduate
research trainings. It also opened up
new bioinformatics or bioengineering opportunities
between my laboratory and also that of a
bioengineering colleague at Lehigh. And all of this because
Joseph asked one question. Imagine that– one
question took us that far. Joseph could never have imagined
that that one question could create such eureka moments
for so many people. So what have we learned about
this experience for Joseph? Was Joseph transformed? I would say yes. He was transformed because he
learned to acquire knowledge by active engagement. Was he enlightened? Definitely so. He was enlightened
because he came to understand that
questions and ideas don’t belong to one group of people. They belong to everyone. Could Joseph, again, ever
have imagined that he was going to us this far? Absolutely not, no way. And you might want to
know what Joseph is doing. Joseph took his skills and
that research experience. And he is now working
for a company that is working on the Zika virus. And they hired him because
of his skill set learned in the SEA-PHAGES program. So I know that there
are many of you who had Joseph-like moments. There are also many
of our students who are seeking,
searching, still looking for Joseph-like moments. And we have to make
that happen for them. We have this opportunity to shed
light and show them the light. And I ask you to make
it clear to our students that this light still shines. So with that, let’s
keep that light on. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [AUDIO OUT] [VIDEO PLAYBACK] GO pushes us to create. GO funds potential
and any problem. GO breaks down boundaries
and opens doors for others. GO gears up with
grit and know how, tackling tomorrow’s challenges– Today. GO is messy and difficult. Hiring and testing. GO rises above defeat. And pushes us to try again. GO reinvent– And redefines. GO reminds us to never settle. For good enough. GO believes that
something better– Is just around the corner. And isn’t afraid to go get it. The drive to GO– it’s an undeniable calling
that connects everyone in our community,
because at Lehigh, we know that transformative
ideas require both movement and momentum and people,
who bring dedication and direction to a dream. Brought from all over the world,
we’re here to work together. Perspectives
converging, disciplines colliding, we solve, create,
build, break, design, learn, leap and take a leap, just as
we have for more than 150 years. If we had never said GO, we
would have never engineered the steel for the Golden
Gate Bridge, the Panama Canal, and the
Empire State Building or been the first to use
a robotic arm to retrieve a broken satellite. We never would have shattered
glass ceilings, spread diplomacy across
continents, plugged our entrepreneurial
spirit into a West Coast economic powerhouse or
transformed local classrooms to change a child’s life. GO makes an institution work
to do better for our students, for our community,
and for our world. But change begins with action. And action doesn’t
happen in isolation. It’s fueled by friction,
by the collision of diverse perspectives,
ideas, and disciplines. This campaign will enable Lehigh
to assume its rightful place in producing the
leaders of tomorrow. This is the time for
all of us to step up to be able to make
Lehigh all that it can be for the next
generations moving forward. Together, we will
ensure our students have the scholarships, support,
and facilities they need. Without the generous
scholarships of the Lehigh donors, I wouldn’t have
been able to study abroad and interned abroad. And just be here and be
part of the Lehigh family– I’m really grateful
that there are donors who are willing to
sponsor these scholarships, because without them, we
wouldn’t have that platform to show everyone what
we could really do and the impact that we
could make on the world. There are students who
will be leaders in business and politics, innovators
in their fields, influencers of others. And we need to have
the opportunity to be on their list. Our access and
success initiatives are about providing for the
true cost of a Lehigh education. The Lehigh fund is a
wonderful way for all of us to contribute to programs
that go to support students. We need a revitalized, you see. Our students today learn
in different fashions. Their interaction with
their faculty is different. So we need to
upgrade, and we will. Having a place where everybody
feels welcomed, where everybody feels comfortable, where
there is an opportunity to interact with other
students or other members of the university community
is absolutely critical. Bridge West is exciting,
simply, because in conjunction with the UC, this is going
to be a true hub right there at the center of campus. And it’s going to be the
heartbeat of the campus. Together, we will build
high-impact learning experiences to equip students
for a rapidly changing world. What I learned from
Lehigh is that you have to blossom
where you’re planted. You have to take the most
out of the opportunities that are given to you, because
Lehigh University has those opportunities to give. At our company, we try
to hire Lehigh students, because one of the
things I can say in from first-hand
experience is a Lehigh student is ready to go to
work today that they graduate. Why I think Lehigh is in a
unique position now starting this College of
Health, because I think many of those complex
ways of thinking about problems are things that we’re really
accustomed to at Lehigh. So I see the health
care industry being impacted
first and foremost by the kind of talented
people who graduate. Well, this College
of Health will also be a significant producer
of new research in health. What’s interesting about the
College of Health is that it and of itself is a new thought
about what a College of Health is. It’s not a school of medicine. It’s not a school public health. It will occupy this
kind of very unique role that it will be a very
Lehigh-type college. Together, we will
invest in research that will power discovery
and change our world for the better. I think risk-taking is
something that I always probably had in me. But I think Lehigh
really cultivated it. Knowing that you have
contributed something that has never
before been uncovered is a remarkable feeling. How are you going to
be that leader, right? I’m going to be the
person who decides to provide some
sort of initiative to make a positive
impact on life. So the new HST building
is going to lie at the core of interdisciplinary
research at Lehigh. The most pressing
problems in society don’t really lie
within one or more of the traditional
disciplines that really lie the interfaces
of those disciplines. If you look at today’s
alumni, whether it’s the first female president of
the New York Stock Exchange, whether it’s two fraternity
brothers that created Urban Outfitters, Lehigh has always
impacted and changed the world. And that will be true of
this generation as well. [MUSIC PLAYING] GO. GO. I am so ready to GO. [MUSIC PLAYING] Let’s GO. GO. GO. I’m ready to GO. Two letters– infinite
possibilities. [MUSIC PLAYING] GO is powerful, sparking
progress that will affect generations to come. GO is unstoppable,
building a collective force that keeps Lehigh on
the forefront of change. Together, let’s GO. GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. [MUSIC PLAYING] [END PLAYBACK] [APPLAUSE] So you heard it. You’ve watched it. This is Lehigh’s moment. Tonight, we go big,
and we go all out. Daniel, Nadine vastly shared
their amazing personal stories with you. Those stories are contagious. And they’ll go on to inspire
many of Lehigh’s alumni. And you, in particular, have
to be really proud of Nadine. And your mentorship is one
of your many GO moments for Lehigh. This is a picture of campus. This was Thursday night. And Kevin and I are
going to reproduce that ending pretty soon. [LAUGHTER] There were 3,500 students
on the lawn of campus. And it was just
an amazing event. And I was just amazed at how
much interest the students took in, what this campaign
is about, and how it was going to affect both
their education and those of the students of the future. At that campus event, I told our
students, Lehigh’s next cohort of alumni, that
they would always be proud to be a Lehigh alum. That when they come
back to campus, they would see that
Lehigh has continued to innovate that like them,
the future graduates of Lehigh would be ready to become
leaders in the world and tackle the
challenges of their time. I committed to deliver this. And in doing that, I hope
I committed all of us to deliver it. It requires your engagement
and support of the university. I’d like to invite Kevin
Clayton, class of 1984, to come back and
join me on the stage. [APPLAUSE] Shall we sit? So at our launch
event on campus, I had the privilege of
announcing that Lisa and Kevin Clayton committed $20 million
to the renovation and expansion of the University Center. And in honor of that
gift, the building will be known as the
Clayton University Center at Packer Hall. I’d like you to join me in
congratulating their generosity. [APPLAUSE] So what we’re going to
do for a few minutes here is explore the
Clayton GO moment. So Kevin, what led
you and Lisa to make this transformational gift
at this point in time? Well, John, it’s not normal
that I would ask you– if I could answer your
question by asking a question, and that is I’d like to see
if I could ask everybody again to give a round of applause
to Vassie, Nadine, and Daniel. I think their stories
were outstanding. And please join me in
giving them another round. [APPLAUSE] And I will get to your question. But I also must start
by saying that the gift from the Clayton’s couldn’t be
possible without my wife of 30 years, Lisa Clayton, who
happens to hail from Bethlehem. As the kids found out
on Thursday night, I met her the old-fashioned way. I actually met her
in the Tally Ho. [LAUGHTER] And she stuck with me. And we’ve had a
wonderful experience. And that has allowed me to
devote quite a bit of effort and love for this institution
in addition to a day job and now three grown
children, so thank you Lisa. You asked a question about why
this is a GO moment for us. Very simply, I was taught
to lead by example. And I mentioned before as
your chairman of the board, you got to lead. And so it was not lost
upon Lisa and myself that this being the
beginning of the public phase of the campaign that we
would go forth and have the opportunity or
the inside track to announce a gift
from the Claytons at this moment for the
opening part of the campaign. Very simply, the
University Center was something that pretty much
came to us pretty quickly. We were looking
at opportunities. We’ve had the good
fortune of investing in other areas of
Lehigh over the years. And when I looked at
the University Center, it certainly is one of the most
iconic most beautiful buildings on the outside at our campus. But I happened to have noticed
that the year that I spent on campus as the
interim president, and because I can’t cook,
I ate all of my meals up at the University
Center with the students. That place on the inside
needed a little TLC. And then Lisa had
a very good point. She said, think about it. If you are a student, if
you are a faculty member and teach there or a
staff member who puts this all together, certainly, you
spend considerable amount of time in that
University Center during your time
in South Mountain. So we were looking for something
that had a broad impact. And in my day job, I
happened to have probably close to 300 colleges
and universities of clients around the world. So I’ve seen a few student
in university centers. And I realized
quickly that if we do what we did to Linderman to
the inside and the expansion of the University
Center, guess what. Our tours, our
student tours that lead our students that
we’re trying to recruit will suddenly not just
point up the hill and say, that’s the University Center. Let’s go inside Linderman. We have a huge opportunity here. Students learn in
different ways. Faculty teach in different ways. In conjunction with
Bridge West, we’re going to have a
community center that is the heart of this institution. And it allow people
from all walks of life, all
different diversities to come together in a
true student center. And I happen to have done a
little homework on the plane ride out. I didn’t realize that the
University Center, itself, hadn’t been updated,
or in its last edition, was over 60 years ago. Its time has come. So Kevin, you’ve
touched on this. But I’m curious what it is
about the University Center that connects to your passion. Well, simply put, the passion
is and why the University Center is because I think it has
a tremendously broad impact for future generations of
students, of professors, of staff, of people
that want to come in and evaluate and think
about coming to Lehigh. That’s really what turned us
on about the University Center. And it is one of our most
beautiful iconic buildings. And it will be even better. And I think it will be one of
the finest university centers anywhere across the country. Do you have any
final thoughts you’d like to share with all our
friends that are here tonight? I do. A few thoughts, and
I’ll keep it brief, because I’m probably the
last speaker before we get to have dinner. My thoughts are as follows– I’ve been blessed to be
part of a Lehigh family. I have grown up. I think I realized last night– one of my kids told me, dad, you
were probably about five when you went to your first game. And I remember we parked
where McGinnis Hall is now when Taylor Stadium
was where Rauch is. And that was 50 years ago. But because of
that relationship, and because I was born
into a Lehigh family, it was the only place I applied. God bless Sam Mismer, because
I probably shouldn’t have been allowed in, but he let me in. And the rest is sort of history. But to your question,
John, I happen to know firsthand through my
folks, Mr. Stabler, Mr. Rauch, Mr. Zoellner, Mr. Mohler,
Hittinger, Caruso– I certainly still to
this day, my mentors are Murray Goodman, Joe
Perella, and Dennis Singleton. That impacted me greatly. And I would ask myself, why
does dad do all this stuff? Why are mom and dad getting
so involved in Lehigh? And now I look back and
I say, why have there been 12 Claytons who have
Lehigh degrees over three generations since 1947? There’s something special
that occurs at South Mountain and at Lehigh. So that has had a huge
influence on what I have tried to instill and give back. And very simply
put, it’s not all about making the last
dollar, because I look at those men and women who
did it for us for generations prior. It’s our responsibility to
do it for future generations. I want to close with
some thoughts today. I’d like to ask if you
would bear with me, and I’ll ask you
for a couple things to think about as
you go forth tonight. Number one, I want you to
think and go and think or go and reflect as I have in
preparation for this evening and this campaign. Think about what the
institution, what Lehigh has done for you. Find a passion or an
experience that turns you on. But think about it– stop and think. Number two, I call it go do it. Get involved, find a
program, find a dean, find a faculty
member, talk to John. You can certainly
come and talk with me. There’s so many ways
that you can give back to our students and the
institution but go do it. And I promise you, as
those of you that have, you’re going to feel
pretty good about it. And number three, I
call it GO Lehigh. Go fourth as
ambassadors, as graduates and do the same for
Lehigh what others have done in the past for us. And, again, I think that
that is so important. We come from a
world-class institution. As all of us traveled
the globe, anecdotally, I was on a treadmill not
that long ago in Singapore, and I had a Lehigh shirt on. And the guy too down
for me was hustling. I was struggling, say the least. All he wanted to talk
about was Lehigh, and his kids were
interested in Lehigh. So I’m sure I’ll get
that call pretty soon. But, again, get involved. Go do it. Be ambassadors. We have a world-class
institution. And every one of us should be
very, very proud of Lehigh. So tonight– [APPLAUSE] So tonight, you heard it. You watched it. And you witnessed
Kevin’s GO moment. This is indeed Lehigh’s time. Together, we go forth with
a bold, ambitious goal. And together, we’ll fulfill
our vision for Lehigh. And as I said, we are
ready as an institution. And in my opening remarks,
I’ll reiterate– we have drive. We have spirit. And I know that at Lehigh,
all of us have grit. And we are a true
sense of community that is behind this plan. And we can go and do this. We’re ready to go. GO Lehigh! [APPLAUSE]

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