Editorial: The first draft of Lehigh’s history


A lot can change in 125 years. 

Since 1894, the Lehigh Engineers became the Mountain Hawks, Lehigh became co-ed and the university physically expanded.  

But one thing has stayed the same since 1894—The Brown and White has told all the Lehigh news first. 

On Sept. 26, alumni, staff and current students met to celebrate The Brown and White’s 125th anniversary.

Alumni, such as Executive Editor of The Washington Post Marty Baron and CNN host Michael Smerconish, left their newsrooms to celebrate the importance of student journalism and where it all began for them, in The Brown and White newsroom.

In the wake of political turmoil, the 125th anniversary celebration could not have been more timely. It was a reminder that in spite of a polarized media and political climate, the roots of journalism have been—and always will be—to seek the truth. 

Since the establishment of the First Amendment in 1789, freedom of the press has granted journalists the right to tell the stories of the people and for the people. Journalists have held leaders accountable and been a voice for the voiceless, both nationally and locally. 

But as Baron explained, the freedom of the press is not a freedom if it is not exercised. 

Our newsroom is proud to follow in the footsteps of those who acted upon the importance and power of this freedom. And since 1894, The Brown and White has exercised this right, remaining a trusted voice on campus. 

The first draft of Lehigh’s history began with the publication’s initial pages in 1894, and we have been adding to that story every Tuesday and Friday since. 

As we grow as a publication, students from all backgrounds and groups on campus come together in Coppee Hall to pursue the truth.  

Today, we are 106 reporters, 26 photographers, 10 videographers and 54 editors. As we expand, we have learned to fly drones and create intricate data graphics. No matter how fast the world changes, our consistency in exercising our freedom to report will remain at the core of our publication. 

As student journalists, not all of us will go on to work in newsrooms. Our multidisciplinary staff offers perspective to issues on campus and is able to tell stories through the lens of a diverse group of students. 

And in just the first month on campus, The Brown and White staff has broken news, investigated critical campus issues and celebrated the community that has been formed around our newsroom.  

A lot can change in 125 years. 

But on Thursday, Sept. 26 in Zoellner Arts Center, we were reminded that the connections we make and the experiences we have as student journalists are perennial. 

The Brown and White alumni graduated and went their separate ways, but the history and stories they told find a common ground when we come together. And as we continue to write the first draft of Lehigh’s history, we celebrate the story that is written behind the scenes. The story of our publication and the people behind it. 

With each press night, we add a chapter to the first draft of Lehigh’s history. And as we work to exercise our freedoms today, we thank those who wrote the very first pages and every chapter in between. 

A lot can change in 125 years, but Sunday and Wednesday nights in Coppee Hall remind us of how much has stayed the same. 

Prints of old newspapers line the walls, honoring the editors before us that spent press nights in the University Center basement, gluing e’s over a’s until 2 a.m. 

And as we advance as a publication, we are driven to build upon the foundation of truth that was built for us in 1894. 

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    • Marissa McCloy on

      Hi Carl- 1894 is when The Brown and White started, so when we say that we are listing some of the things about Lehigh that have changed during the 125 years that the newspaper has been on campus. Thanks for your question!

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