The Launch for the Campaign for Lehigh held events on campus at Lehigh, San Francisco and New York City. The launch events in remote locations allow for alumni from different regions of the country to take part in events related to their alma mater. (Courtesy of Deirdre Kwiatek)

Lehigh launches campaign across the country

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GO: The Campaign for Lehigh launched on campus on Oct. 25 and then made its way from coast to coast.

The $1-billion-plus fundraising and engagement initiative was also celebrated in New York City and San Francisco on Oct. 26 and 27, respectively.

GO: The Campaign for Lehigh aims to attract students, construct new facilities, develop innovative programs and support faculty research. According to the campaign’s website, the university has raised more than half of its goal.

The launch events, which were open to both students and alumni, featured speakers who discussed each component of the campaign — access and opportunity, experience and impact, and research and distinction. 

“We wanted to say, ‘this is where Lehigh is going, this is what we’re doing — be part of it,’” said Deirdre Kwiatek, a senior director of development and the director of the Campaign for Lehigh.

Kwiatek said it was important to start the campaign on campus because it’s the “heart” of the Lehigh community. The first event on the UC front lawn was headlined with a musical performance by Grammy-nominated singer Halsey.

Mustaffa Said, ’20, said the event at Lehigh was warm and welcoming.

“There was a good representation of the Lehigh community that had a strong and optimistic vibe for Lehigh’s future,” he said.

Although the campaign started on campus, the celebration continued across the country.

The second launch took place in New York City on the USS Intrepid on Oct. 26. Kwiatek said there is a strong alumni presence in the Northeast and about 750 people attended the event, which featured a performance by the Marching 97.

“We wanted to bring all the different people — students, alumni, staff, faculty, partners — in the Lehigh community together,” Kwiatek said.

Kwiatek said Development and Alumni Relations chose the Intrepid because it’s symbolic to Lehigh.

“The Intrepid has seen years and years of service and has been reinvented many different ways, which is symbolic to the nature of our campaign,” she said.

The Launch for the Campaign for Lehigh in San Francisco took place on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at the Legion of Honor Museum. The event included dinner, a program about the campaign and a performance by the Lehigh University Jazz Combo. (Courtesy of Deirdre Kwiatek)

The campaign then traveled west to San Francisco at the Legion of Honor museum on Oct. 27. Kwiatek said there were about 175 attendees at the event.

Kwiatek said Lehigh has a growing presence on the West Coast with its regional office and partnership with the Nasdaq Center, so it only made sense to engage that area of the country in the university’s campaign launch.

Nadine Elsayed, ’18, spoke as an alumni representative for the experience and impact portion of the campaign. Elsayed reflected on the opportunities she had at Lehigh, including five fully-funded study abroad experiences.

“The experiences that students have on campus that shape your life are often the ones that are funded by the generosity of alumni,” Elsayed said. “That’s why I was really grateful to go there and advocate about it and am passionate about passing it forward.”

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