Joseph Helble’s inauguration ceremony as Lehigh’s 15th president was held Oct. 15 and was the first of a series of events marking Founders Day weekend.
The inauguration ceremony was held in the Tamerler Courtyard outside Zoellner Arts Center. The inauguration was also streamed on the University Center front lawn. There were food trucks, games and performances following the ceremony.
The formal ceremony featured speakers including Board of Trustees Vice Chair Maria Chrin, Student Senate President Victor Cochrane, ‘22, Graduate Student Senate Representative Kadia Hylton Fraser, ‘22G, and administrators from Dartmouth College, where Helble previously served as provost.
Kevin Clayton, ‘84, chairman of the board of trustees, presented Helble with gifts, welcoming him into the role in Lehigh tradition. The gifts included a walking stick, a symbol of status and leadership; the mace of the university, a gift from the centennial class of 1996; and the Chain of Office medallion of the university, an official symbol of the university and the office of the president.
Helble assumed the role of president in August, succeeding former President John Simon.
“As an alumnus, for me to have this opportunity to help shape the university that shaped each of us, this is a privilege of a lifetime,” Helble said in his inauguration speech.
Helble graduated from Lehigh in 1982, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
In his speech, Helble said he has asked the provost, the deans and the office of admissions to increase the size of the school’s interdisciplinary programs by 50 percent over the next several years. These programs are: Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences (IDEAS), Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) and Computer Science and Business (CSB).
“What makes Lehigh distinctive? How can we raise our profile even higher? Where can we be first, best or only?” Helble asked.
Speeches were followed by a performance by the Lehigh Philharmonic Orchestra.
This weekend also marks Founders Day, commemorating Lehigh’s founder, Asa Packer.
The festivities of Founders Day weekend include a 5k “Inauguration Fun Run” through campus, and tailgate preceding the men’s soccer game versus Lafayette College.