BREAKING: President John Simon to step down June 30, 2021


President John Simon announced his decision to resign effective June 30, 2021, University Communications announced in a campus-wide email today. 

Just last May, the board of trustees announced it was extending Simon’s term until 2025. 

Nearing six years serving as Lehigh University’s president, Simon made an impact both on campus and in the South Bethlehem community, the email said. 

On campus, Simon led in the Path to Prominence initiative, working to expand the student body population by 20 percent, launching a College of Health and working toward raising $1 billion for GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. 

“I’m honored and proud to be associated with the students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, friends and partners of this very special institution,” Simon said. “The people make this outstanding university what it is.”

In the South Bethlehem community, Simon also partnered with Mayor Robert Donchez, working to bridge the gap between the university and community, which came to life through the Third and New Street building, Brinker Lots and collaborations with ArtsQuest. 

The email said it was a difficult decision for Simon, but that he is proud of what he’s accomplished during his presidency and believes the university is “well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward.” 

Following a one-year sabbatical, Simon plans to remain a part of the Lehigh community by returning to faculty in July 2022, the email said. 

In response to his departure, Board Chairman Kevin Clayton reflected on Simon’s impact on the university. 

“John’s leadership, vision and focus on execution have moved Lehigh forward in multiple dimensions,” Clayton said in the email. “His intellect and passion for Lehigh are evident, and you need only talk to Lehigh community members to feel the affection and respect people have for him.”

The email said a presidential search committee will be formed to represent the institution and broader community as it begins its search for Lehigh’s 15th president in the near future. 


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  1. Enough Already on

    One never knows whether the Trustees told him to “take a hike” or whether he decided this on his own.

    My thoughts are that he has been yet one more undistinguished useless liberal in a long line of other useless Lehigh presidents.

    The last decent president of Lehigh was Deming Lewis.

  2. Prior to his position, Simon served as executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia and took a timely decision to step down.

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