The new Western Regional Office was launched in San Mateo, California, with the hopes of engaging alumni, corporations, prospective students and their guidance counselors throughout the California area.
Provost Patrick V. Farrell appointed John W. Welty as the vice provost of the WRO on Sept. 1, according to an email from Farrell.
“Lehigh established the WRO to extend educational opportunities for Lehigh students and faculty by building curricular and research partnerships with dynamic enterprises in several metropolitan areas on the west coast,” Welty said.
Welty’s responsibilities as vice provost of the WRO include opening the office and laying the foundation for future partnerships with organizations on the west coast. Welty plays a critical role in engaging the organizations that are eager to become a part of the Lehigh community.
“When fully developed, the WRO will engage interested enterprises and people in academic programs, student recruitment, alumni relations, university events, corporate and industry partnerships, career services and development,” Welty said.
Welty said opening the WRO in California will allow Lehigh to develop a consistent presence on the West Coast and achieve successful relationships with various organizations.
The university announced a partnership with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center on Sept. 27 spearheaded by President John D. Simon and Lisa Getzler of the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship. Welty said Lehigh hopes to continue these partnerships.
The office was created with the goal of fostering a stronger presence of Lehigh alumni on the west coast. Welty believes opening the WRO will help recent graduates with their transition from Lehigh to post-graduate life.
California has the fourth largest concentration of Lehigh alumni, behind Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Welty said approximately 6,300 Lehigh alumni live on the West Coast.
He said although California is home to a large population of both current students and alumni, there is still a push to recruit more students from the area.
The WRO will initially focus on recruitment opportunities in California, Oregon and Washington, according to Farrell’s email. Other western metropolitan areas such as Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix may be included later.
Welty said the WRO will assist the Office of Financial Aid as well as the Office of Admissions to recruit prospective students from the west coast.
Associate director of admissions Matt Cunningham said he is unsure exactly how the WRO will play into the admissions process. The WRO will serve as a point for recruiters and high school counselors to receive information about Lehigh.
Cunningham said Lehigh can monopolize the location of the office, which is based near San Francisco, the Silicon Valley and the East Bay.
He said the Office of Admissions is hopeful the WRO will assist in its efforts to attract and appeal to more students and families on the west coast.
Cunningham said all individuals involved in the efforts of successfully establishing the office are hopeful it will succeed in the future.
“I see the implications of the WRO when measured over the years ahead as fundamentally enriching the Lehigh experience and elevating the impact and visibility of Lehigh as a place committed to making a purposeful difference in the world,” Welty said.