Timeline designed by Micah Golomb-Leavitt/B&W Staff.
October 2016: The Board of Trustees formally approves President John Simon’s Path to Prominence plan
The Path to Prominence initiative includes plans to expand Lehigh’s student body and faculty, upgrade facilities, build new residential communities and academic buildings and launch a new college focused on health.
Nov. 8, 2016: The 2016 presidential election is held
Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States of America, which generated a mixed reaction amongst Lehigh University faculty, staff and students.
Feb. 21, 2017: Lehigh announces Ricardo Hall as vice provost for Student Affairs
Beginning June 30, Dr. Ricardo Hall of University of Miami was to succeed John Smeaton as vice provost for Student Affairs.
July 17, 2017: Kappa Sigma and Sigma Chi fraternities lose university recognition
The Kappa Sigma fraternity lost university recognition in July following an off-campus incident in April where more than 40 students were issued citations for underage drinking. In November, the Sigma Chi fraternity lost university recognition following an off-campus incident on Oc. 13 in which two students were hospitalized for alcohol-related emergencies, and another student was cited for underage drinking.
Aug. 16, 2017: Lehigh community petitions to rescind Trump’s honorary degree
The Lehigh community petitioned to rescind Trump’s 1988 honorary degree, deeming his behavior and statements antithetical to the university’s “Principles of Our Equitable Community”. The petition eventually received over 79,000 supporters, but the Board of Trustees did not rescind the degree. In February 2018, the Board of Trustees reaffirmed its decision not to rescind the degree following a vote where 83 percent of 357 participating Lehigh faculty members voted in favor of rescindment.
Dec. 1, 2017: The proposed College of Health moves forward
Construction of the College of Health is planned to be completed by spring 2021. The new college will consist of six potential areas of focus: biomedicine and biotechnology, environmental health, resilient communities, mind-body connections, the science of health care delivery and proactive health and wellness.
March 5, 2018-June 7, 2018: Alpha Chi Omega sorority, Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Kappa Alpha fraternity lose university recognition
In March, the Alpha Chi Omega sorority lost university recognition following reports that members of the chapter had planned a scavenger hunt involving the use of drugs and alcohol, sexual activity and other activities that violate university policy. In April, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity lost recognition after an incident in which the chapter violated “multiple policies regarding alcohol.” In June, the Kappa Alpha fraternity lost recognition after receiving an unaccredited rating for a second consecutive year.
August 2018: Lehigh introduces Bigbelly trash cans and paper straws
As Lehigh works towards becoming a more sustainable campus, the Bigbelly trash cans and paper straws become the new norm for Lehigh students.
September 2018: Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads on campus
Within the first month of the 2018-2019 academic year, an outbreak of the common viral illness spread amongst the Lehigh student body.
Oct. 26, 2018: Go: The Campaign for Lehigh is launched/Halsey concert
Lehigh launched the public phase of Go: The Campaign for Lehigh, a five-year fundraising campaign, on the University Center Front Lawn with headlining performer Halsey. At the event, the university announced a $20 million gift from Lisa and Kevin Clayton, ‘84, ’13P.
January 2019: Construction of the Crescent Building (Building C) is completed.
The technologically advanced space located on Mountaintop Campus is home to the art, architecture and design department, as well as the Mountaintop Initiative and the Institute for Data, Intelligent systems and Computation.
Feb. 24, 2019: CJ McCollum’s Lehigh jersey is retired
The NBA star and Lehigh men’s basketball alumnus returned to Stabler Arena to have his jersey retired.
July 2, 2019: Legendary Lehigh alumnus, Lee Iacocca, passes away
Lee Iacocca, class of 1945 and Allentown native, died at the age of 94. Iacoccca helped develop the Ford Mustang and was CEO of the Chrysler Corporation. His generous contributions to Lehigh University, including the founding of the Iacocca Institute, continue to have a significant impact on the Lehigh community.
August 2019: The newly renovated Chandler-Ullmann Hall reopens
Renovations worth $31 million were completed on the historic Chandler-Ullmann building, home to both the psychology and mathematics departments. Inside the building are classrooms, research labs, a tutoring center and lounge areas. Additionally, it now has new and improved HVAC, elevators and bathrooms.
August 2019: SouthSide Commons opens its doors to Lehigh students
The housing complex is home to over 400 Lehigh students, and includes pet-friendly single, double, triple and quad apartments. Rooms are equipped with laundry machines and full kitchens, and building amenities include a gym and study areas.
Jan. 22, 2020: Phi Kappa Theta loses university recognition
Following a November 2019 off-campus party with approximately 75 students and alcohol present, the fraternity lost university recognition.
March 12, 2020: Lehigh moves to remote learning for the remainder of the semester
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Simon announced that Lehigh will continue classes online for the remainder of the semester. Later in the month, summer programs and classes were either canceled or moved online, and the 2020 commencement ceremony was postponed.