Lehigh students and alumni enjoy free food and celebrations in honor of the Annual Founder's Weekend Festival. The celebration was held on the UC Front Lawn. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

Founder’s Day allows for a celebration of past, present and future Lehigh generations


Acapella music, dance performances, food, Lehigh Jeopardy and an Asa Packer impersonator filled the Front Lawn as the Lehigh community celebrated Founder’s Day. 

The annual Founder’s Day Festival took place on Oct. 14. The event has been held every October since 1879 to honor and commemorate Lehigh University founder Asa Packer.

“The event is important because it is a definitive moment to stop and honor Asa Packer,” said Joe Buck, vice president of Development and Alumni Relations. “It is a moment to just reflect on the past and think about how that may impact the future, which is the students.”

Lehigh’s Marching 97 performs at the Annual Founder’s Weekend Festival held on the UC Front Lawn. Students and alumni celebrated Founder’s Weekend from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

Buck said although Founder’s Day was created to honor Asa Packer, the event is really a celebration of the Lehigh community as a whole. He said he wants the students to be able to acknowledge the impact the alumni and founders have had on current students’ Lehigh experience. 

This year the event featured its first ever “Battle of the Classes.” Each class was assigned a color to represent their class spirit. The freshmen wore purple, the sophomores wore green, the juniors wore blue and the seniors wore orange. 

Each class member who wore a shirt in their class color gained a point. The class with the most points won a pizza party at the end of the event funded by the Office of Student Engagement.

Serafina Genise, assistant director of Clubs and Organizations, said there were multiple ideas about how to increase student participation, but they thought this would be the most engaging. 

Lehigh University’s Annual Founder’s Weekend Festival was held on the UC Lawn from Oct. 13 to 16. Students and alumni enjoyed the celebration with free food, music and performances. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

“Students could be as invested as they wanted to be,” Genise said.  “They could just show up and check in and get your t-shirt and still receive points for your class by just being there.”

One of the events was Lehigh Jeopardy, where students from each class competed to see who knew the most about Lehigh and its history.

Genise said she was excited for this event and hoped it allowed everyone to work together and foster their sense of Lehigh pride. At the end of the event, the freshmen class was declared the winner of the “Battle of the Classes.”

“This was my very first Founder’s Day Weekend so it was kinda cool that we were able to win,” Tishaya DaSilva, ‘26, said. “This event was a nice welcome to what Lehigh is all about.”

Hajer Sabil, ’23, who has attended Founder’s Day in past years, said she also felt the Lehigh spirit. 

She said the event brought out her competitive spirit and she enjoyed the sense of camaraderie brought by the battle of classes. 

“I definitely think that this Founders Day was more lively than the ones in the past,” Sabil said. 

Students and alumni enjoyed the celebration with free food, music and performances. (Sophie Baraker/B&W Staff)

Many faculty and staff members hope students will cherish this Lehigh tradition.

Buck said the real meaning of the event is to honor both the past and future Lehigh generations. He said the four years students spend here can really impact the rest of their lives. 

“While it’s only four years, it’s a really important and influential four years,” Buck said. “I really just hope that people bring an open mind to absorb who has come before them and who will come after them.”

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