Lehigh celebrates Founder’s Day and installation of President Simon

151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_07_web 151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_06_web 151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_05_web 151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_04_web 151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_03_web 151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_02_web 151003_FOUNDERS_DAY_Barry_01_web 151002_Founders_Day_Simoneau_001_Web
President John Simon is presented with the University Mace by University Chaplin Reverend Lloyd Steffen (R) during the installation of the president by Chair of the Board of Trustees Brad Erc Scheler during the Founder's Day ceremonies in Packer Memorial Church on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. The University Mace, a symbol of univeristy officials, was first given as a gift from the centenial class of 1966. (Chris Barry/B&W Photo)

Lehigh’s annual Founder’s Day celebration marked an important milestone in the school’s ongoing sesquicentennial year with the installation of the university’s 14th president, John Simon.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni watched the ceremony in both Packer Memorial Church and through a simulcast viewing party in Grace Hall for those who could not acquire tickets for the sold-out chapel venue.

After being installed as president, President Simon delivered his inaugural address, speaking about the founding vision of Asa Packer and Lehigh’s pursuit of excellence.

“We must commit to excellence and situate Lehigh to excel as a research university that prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century,” Simon said.

Following along this mission, Simon announced that the board of trustees has committed $250 million dollars of institutional resources in the areas of teaching, learning, research and student life. Simon outlined goals in four main areas of financial aid, university infrastructure, innovative education and globalization.

Janet Norwood, the senior director of advancement communications, said this Founder’s Day was special due to the additional sesquicentennial programming, including the installation. The university has been planning the events for the past year and special events were added to the program to expand the celebration.

Individuals in Grace Hall presented Simon with symbolic gifts, and this presentation was shown on a screen at the church.

Lori McClaind, the assistant dean of academic transitions, led the presentation of gifts from Grace Hall. The presenters were Thomas Healy Jr., ’85, Mary Jo McNulty, Professor Scott Gordon and Michael Garzillo, ’16.

Each gift represented a part of the university seal. One of the gifts included a Lehigh jersey with Simon’s name emblazoned on the back, along with the No. 14.

During the ceremony, the Lehigh choir and professional musicians united to debut the musical piece “Darest Thou Now, O Soul.” The piece was composed by Steven Sametz, a music professor, and was commissioned by Lehigh to commemorate the sesquicentennial year along with the installation of President Simon.

During the performance, members of the audience could open an app to control a light fixture which hung on the ceiling of the church. The colors of the lights and the sounds of the choir changed with input from the audience.

Stacy Shillinger, senior director of advancement and university events, said the fixture came from a Mountaintop project.

“The students’ aim was to make the piece interactive with the audience and choir through the use of a webpage and a large light sculpture hung from the ceiling of the church,” Shillinger wrote in an email.

The ceremony celebrated the past, present and future of Lehigh, and Simon stressed the importance of the rich history and traditions of the university during his speech.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments,” Simon said. “Let us all remember this moment as one filled with possibility. A Lehigh moment.”

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply