In an April 26 email to the Lehigh community, Kevin Clayton, chair of the Board of Trustees, announced that Joseph J. Helble, ‘82 will be serving as the next president of Lehigh University, following President John Simon’s departure.
Helble currently serves as the provost for Dartmouth College and will assume the role at Lehigh on August 16.
According to Helble’s LinkedIn page, he studied chemical engineering at Lehigh from 1978-1982 before earning a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987.
According to the email, Helble was selected via a global search process by the Presidential Search Committee.
“The committee’s charge was to identify the best possible person to lead the university,” Clayton said in the email. “Joe is that person. His impressive track record as an accomplished and forward-thinking educator made him stand out in a diverse pool of truly outstanding candidates. He is a superb choice to drive our university forward.”
Although the Board of Trustees voted in May 2019 to extend Simon’s contract through 2025, Simon announced his resignation in September 2020, which will be effective beginning June 30, 2021.
Provost Nathan Urban will serve as Lehigh’s interim president between Simon’s departure and Helble’s arrival on August 16.
President Simon is the 14th president of Lehigh. In his time as president, Simon oversaw Lehigh’s partnership with Nasdaq, the establishment of the university’s Western Regional Office, and the beginning of the Path to Prominence initiative.
During Simon’s tenure, Lehigh also joined the American Talent Initiative to increase the number of talented low- and moderate-income students attending American institutions with high graduation rates.
Furthermore, Simon led GO: The Campaign for Lehigh, a $1 billion fundraising campaign which would help finance the university’s expansion projects.
“As we welcome Joe (Helble), I want to thank and acknowledge President John Simon for his strong leadership over the past six years,” Clayton said in the email. “John’s accomplishments during his time as president will leave a lasting legacy.”