Campaign for Lehigh builds from launch events

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GO The Campaign for Lehigh has continued to partake in campus growth-related activities since the campaign launch, which was held on Thursday, Oct. 25. The campaign’s goals are to increase engagement and monetary involvement in order to create a thriving future for the university. (Kate Morrell/B&W Staff)

GO: The Campaign for Lehigh launched last month with a series of events on campus and across the country.

At the campus launch event, thousands of members of the Lehigh community enjoyed a performance by pop singer Halsey. Kevin L. Clayton, ‘84, ‘13P, the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, donated $20 million dollars for the renovation of the University Center.

Although the three launch events are complete, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations continues to work toward the success of the billion-dollar campaign.

“This isn’t about stuff, this isn’t about money,” said Deirdre Kwiatek, the GO campaign director and the senior director for Development. “This is about Lehigh University — our storied past, where we are today and the impact we want to have on our students and the world.”

Kwiatek said the campaign is more than a capital campaign — it is a comprehensive campaign at its core. The campaign is focused on opening doors for donors, encouraging critical alumni engagement and serving as a “rallying cry” for the transformation of the whole university.

Kwiatek said the university has monetary and engagement goals it hopes to achieve with the campaign. 

“(The monetary) one is to raise more than $1 billion,” she said. “The university has already fundraised $550 million, more than fifty percent of its $1 billion goal, and the most in the university’s fundraising history.”

Kwiatek said the campaign aims to engage at least 50 percent of the alumni body in campus life and culture. Alumni engagement can include event attendance, mentorship, internship offers, gifts or speaking on campus, for example. 

Kwiatek said the launch of the campaign involved three primary steps. First, a variety of initiatives across each of Lehigh’s four colleges and university units, based on the Path to Prominence, were conceptualized. Second, leaders identified which university-level initiatives would be prioritized. Finally, the campaign organized a coherent and compelling story. 

The GO campaign focuses on three thematic areas: access and opportunity, experience and impact and research and distinction. Embedded in these priorities are initiatives such as the new College of Health, the Health, Science & Technology building, the renovation and expansion of the University Center, the construction of the Bridge West Residence Hall and the emergence of interdisciplinary research institutes.

“With the launch of the campaign we can celebrate the connection between current students and alumni, and plan for the future of students to come,” Beatrice Maloney, ‘19, the president of the Association of Student Alumni, said.

The GO campaign is supported by student and alumni volunteers who work as campaign co-chairs, campaign cabinet members and campaign ambassadors, all of whom focus on providing access and opportunity to first generation and low-income students through more substantive financial aid and scholarships, a primary goal of the campaign.

Jordyn Abrahams, ‘19,  the philanthropy chair for the Association of Student Alumni, said the Campaign encourages alumni to take pride in, engage with and support their university. Abrahams is a Campaign Cabinet member who represents the Association of Student Alumni. 

“The access and opportunity aspect of the campaign helps ensure that all students regardless of their financial capabilities, are able to access all of Lehigh’s educational resources and are able to reach their highest academic potential as Lehigh students,” Abrahams said.

Robert “Bobby” Buckheit, ‘09, a young alumni trustee, said a Lehigh degree is priceless.  

Buckheit hopes all students, regardless of financial capacity, can have access to a Lehigh education and the support they need to complete their degrees and become a part of the “Lehigh family.”

“I was molded by my experiences at Lehigh and these experiences played a large role in my career development and my engagement as a Lehigh alumnus,” he said.

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