- Lehigh University
Lehigh University is a private institution that was founded in 1865.
Tuition fees in Lehigh University are $48,000 (Aprox.).
Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, Pa., 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 75 miles west of New York City. The Lehigh Mountain Hawks are members of the Patriot League, and compete in 25 NCAA Division I sports. Their biggest athletic rivalry is Lafayette College, located less than 20 miles away. A third of the student body is involved in fraternities and sororities. All freshmen are required to live on campus, and sophomores are also required to live on campus in a residence hall or Greek housing. Lehigh’s main campus is located on the wooded slope of South Mountain, and half of the campus is preserved as open space.
Lehigh University has four colleges, with numerous undergraduate and graduate majors. Its well-regarded graduate programs include the College of Education and theP.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act originated at Lehigh, requiring colleges to reveal crimes on campus. Lehigh folklore says the school colors of brown and white originated when a woman wearing brown and white stockings passed by a group of men discussing school colors, and the rest is history. Notable alumni include Jesse W. Reno, the inventor of the escalator; and Howard McClintic and Charles Marshall, whose construction company helped build the Golden Gate Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Panama Canal and New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
College of Arts and Sciences
A strong liberal arts education allows our students to think critically and creatively. We work across disciplines to solve today’s most challenging issues.
College of Business and Economics
Tomorrow’s business leaders need to think unconventionally and with integrity. We challenge our students to drive change inside and outside of the boardroom.
College of Education
We are committed to practical and progressive research that results in measurable changes within schools, clinics and national policy.
P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
Engineering is driven by humanity. Our students are problem-solvers who conduct research in an integrated and collaborative environment.
- Art, Architecture, and Design
- Biological Sciences
- Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Comparative and International Education
- Computer Science and Engineering
- Counseling Psychology
- Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Educational Leadership
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Instructional Technology
- Journalism and Communication
- Materials Science and Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
- Modern Languages and Literatures
- Political Science
- Religion Studies
- School Psychology
- Sociology and Anthropology
- Special Education
- Teacher Education
Asa Packer named his university “Lehigh” after his other passion, the railroad, despite suggestions from some to call it “Packer University”. It was founded to provide a well-rounded education for young men, combining a liberal and scientific education with the technical skills necessary to increase the prosperity of the region. According to William Bacon Stevens, the first president of the board of trustees, Asa Packer’s founding gift of $500,000 was the largest single endowment gift ever received by an institution of higher learning up to that time. Mr. Packer also provided for the first structure ever to be built by the young University on campus: “Packer Hall”, now known also as the University Center. An unusual Mansard Gothic edifice featuring a prominent bell tower, at which, upon a suggestion that it be composed of the less expensive brick, Packer declared that it would be made “of stone”. In the construction, a branch of the railroad was diverted to bring stone to the site.
From 1871 to 1891, Packer’s endowment allowed the institution to offer its education free of charge by competitive exam. In 1879, Lehigh became the wealthiest institution of higher learning in the country, surpassing Harvard and Yale. This, plus its blend of engineering and liberal arts, attracted some of the nation’s brightest students, many of whom went on to distinguished careers in industry and engineering.
The formation of a College for engineering, or technical university, was quite a difficult project, as the entire subject of engineering education was obscure. A small number of colleges had commenced this, such as Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey and Harvard, Yale, and RPI in New York; MIT and Cornell were just being founded. The University of Pennsylvania opened a small school in 1852, for mining and materials, but which had closed at the onset of the Civil War. As W. Ross Yates notes: “No one knew with certainty how many years a course [a major; a degree] in engineering should take, or even what branches of engineering should be included within a university. The relationship between theory and practice was hazy.” A statement made years later by industrialist and Lehigh Trustee Eckley B. Coxe summarizes the problem succinctly: “Not knowing exactly what you want to do or the material you have to do it with, what is the best way of doing it?”
Unlike some other engineering schools of the day, Lehigh was envisioned rather as a university instead of an “institute of technology,” offering an education that was rooted in both scientific and classical traditions as espoused by John Amos Comenius. Initially there were five schools: four scientific (civil engineering, mechanical engineering, mining and metallurgy, and analytical chemistry) and one of general literature. The latter would shortly evolve into “Courses in Arts and Science”, as it was known then, in the first decade of the new Century. Engineering curricula were both merged and expanded.
The stock market crash accompanying the Panic of 1893 was a major financial blow to the university, since its endowment was largely invested in stocks, particularly shares of Lehigh Valley Railroad donated by the founder. As a consequence, Lehigh decided to drop its Episcopal Churchaffiliation in 1897, allowing it to qualify for state and federal government aid.
The 1890s proved difficult in respects other than strictly financial. Because of the general recession, and due to some speculation that the University might have to resultingly close, enrollment dropped. Yet with the aid of Alumni, trustees, and the State of Pennsylvania, the young University pulled through. This era closed with the spectacular fire of the Physics building, April 6, 1900. With the improved economy of the 1900s, the new century offered stronger horizons. The Physics building was quickly rebuilt. And with the sale of the Packer Estate’s interest in the Lehigh Valley Railroad (June 1, 1900), the school ceased to be known as a “railroad university”. Fortuitously a new benefactor would take its stead: Bethlehem Steel.
During the Presidency of Thomas M. Drown, a debate would commence that would continue at Lehigh for much of the century: what would be the relative importance of the two other undergraduate Colleges, interior to the University, the Business and Liberal Arts schools, to the foundational Engineering? The College of Arts and Science was formally established in 1909. And based on the experience of Lehigh engineers who went into industry a College of Business & Economics was added in 1910. Lehigh’s business curriculum was unique in that it combined both the abstract emphasis on Economics seen in the Ivy League with the practical skills of management seen in more common business administration degrees given by other universities. During the Presidency of C. R. Richards (1922–1935), and with the influence of Eugene G. Grace (’99), President of Bethlehem Steel, it was then decided that the two other Colleges existed to serve the Engineering School.This was a decision consistent with the University’s founding, but it would be reversed after the Second World War.
Immediately prior to the Richards Presidency, under the leadership of engineer, lawyer, and naturalist, Henry Sturgis Drinker (’71) (1905–1920) Lehigh witnessed strong growth, with the construction of the John Fritz Engineering Lab (1910), and Taylor Gym (1914). Furthermore, plans were made for the Gothic inspired Alumni Memorial Building, designed by alumni T. C. Visscher (’99) and J. L. Burley (’94). This was an elaborate project that would not be finished until the Richards Presidency. During Richards, Lehigh was not too negatively affected by the Depression, thanks to its stronger standing, good management, and the support of Bethlehem Steel. Internal development of the three undergraduate Colleges was emphasized. And critically, just before the Depression, two massive, and coterminous, projects were completed, lending the University much of its modern appearance. The first was a large addition to Linderman Library, doubling its size, and granting a Gothic reinterpretation to what was a Romanesque structure (1929); and secondly, Packard Lab (1929). Both enlargements of the Campus were designed by the firm of Visscher and Burley, again Gothic, with the latter accomplished through the generous gifts of James Ward Packard (’84), founder of the motor company.
For the fourth College at Lehigh, the College of Education, one must return for its generation to the dawn of the 20th century, and the Drown Presidency (1895–1904). Thomas M. Drown had done postgraduate work in Europe as well as the States, before landing a job as Chemistry Professor at Lafayette. Known there for the strength of his teaching, as well as for idiosyncratic views, he eventually took a position at MIT in 1885. This was however not before delivering a commencement address at Lehigh, 1883. The University was obviously impressed enough to invite him back to assume leadership in 12 years. With Lehigh, President Drown was one of the first to posit general parity among all courses of study, with the position there were many roads leading to the goal of an educated, truth-seeking individual. Drown supported many interests, and of which was the encouragement of engineering graduate study, and the integration of Engineering with the Arts. But as a broad intellectual, he had many ancillary projects, with one being education for, and preparation of, prospective secondary school teachers. A 1902 course “Methods of Teaching History and Civics”, later evolved under the sympathetic Presidency of H. S. Drinker (1905–1920) to the beginnings of the College of Education, though then known as the “Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Education.” It was, and is presently, a strictly graduate course of study. President Drown died in office, November 16, 1904.
But a continuing emphasis to the well-rounded graduate can be seen in the University’s approach to education degrees. As a solely graduate-level program, this is based on the principle that people need to learn primary subject matter well before they can learn how to teach it to others. Thus future teachers at Lehigh often take a five-year program earning both a bachelor’s degree in a specialized field and a master’s degree in Education. This latter degree, along with the Business College’s M.B.A., are among the most popular graduate programs in the University.
After World War Two, during the Presidency of Martin Dewey Whitaker, Lehigh’s 8th President, a pressing need arose to increase the range and depth of the University’s graduate engineering programs, as initially envisioned by Mr. Drown. This presented a difficult path for Lehigh, as to successfully do this, along the lines the administrators planned, it would involve many necessary and interdependent facets, such as: knowledgeable Professors, ambitious students, a variety of degrees and class offerings, space, equipment and both private and public funding. If the University was to acquire a graduate program in the sciences, math, and engineering of comparable quality and prestige as that of the undergraduate, support was critical, especially in regards to obtaining federal grants, such as from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA.
Growth was arduous, as Lehigh had to compete with larger and better recognized institutions, such as Cornell, Chicago, MIT, and Johns Hopkins. However, Bethlehem Steel did exist as a key private supporter. Dr. Martin Whitaker was a physicist, and former executive in the Manhattan Project, and under his reserved, though strong, leadership, Lehigh eventually prospered. On April 10, 1957, and as part of a multi-phase plan of modernizing and expanding its business, Dr. Whitaker informed the Board of Trustees that Bethlehem Steel planned a research center for the top of South Mountain. The area was immediately in back of, and contiguous with, Lehigh. Conceived with the University in mind, the center would make much expensive equipment available to the school, while providing the company with a computing and development center. Additionally, and as part of Steel’s greater plans, Lehigh attained 600 acres in Saucon Valley for a Sports and Field Complex. Unfortunately, Dr. Whitaker could not see these plans to fruition, as he passed in office, August 31, 1960.
After the short Presidency of Professor Harvey A. Neville (1960–1964), Dr. Willard Deming Lewis assumed office for what would be the longest Presidency at the University to date (1964–1982). With a background in physics and applied mathematics, and as an executive with Bell Laboratories, Dr. Lewis would go on to have one of the most successful, if unlikely, Presidencies. Though he did have a strong predilection for, and understanding of, research, he had little previous experience with college teaching. Dr. Lewis oversaw women being first admitted as undergraduates, and he managed not only Bethlehem Steel’s expansion on the Mountaintop (as it is now known), but also the company’s aid in expanding the University’s own campus. A major addition was placed along the north side, adjacent to the town, and in between the roads Morton St. and Packer Avenue. Formerly civilian homes, this area provided much needed space for libraries, laboratories, lecture halls, research, and the long anticipated home to the College of Arts and Science, Maginnes Hall.
But it was in an unexpected area that would witness perhaps Dr. Lewis’s finest hour. Having a more personable, even disarming demeanor, as compared with Dr. Whitaker, this aided the president in getting along with staff and students, especially so the turbulent era of the latter 1960s and early 1970s. After years of protest and negotiation, matters came to a head in the spring semester, 1970. With the aid of various professors, including Dr. Francis Wuest of Psychology, Dr. Carey B. Joynt, trustee Monroe J. Rathbone, and many others, it was decided at a special meeting of the Board, May 2, to largely accede to the students request for a greater voice in University affairs, and establish “the Forum”, a joint student/faculty administrative body. It constituted a means by which students could formally suggest change and growth to the school. Interestingly, this occurred two days before the Kent State shootings, and served to quell any further unrest or unhappiness. On May 7 Dr. Lewis presided over an all-university meeting, and declared himself in sympathy with the students, but appealed to them, concerning the nationwide call to “strike”, that their consciences would remember the faculty. According to author and Professor W. Ross Yates, then Dean of the College of Arts and Science, “there were no further strikes.”
Progress continued under succeeding administrations, Peter Likins (1982–1997), Gregory C. Farrington (1998–2006), and Alice P. Gast (2006–2014). Due unfortunately to Bethlehem Steel’s failing health, its Mountaintop campus was purchased in 1986, through State aid. This would turn to be a parting gift, as it were. And because of an additional 750 acres granted by alumnus Donald B. Stabler (’30), in 2012, Lehigh increased its holdings to 2400 acres. Many new buildings went up. These included: The Campus Square (2002), providing an interesting new north entrance to the school, the Rauch Business Center (1990), and Zoellner Arts (1997).
As the new century gets under way, and Lehigh looks back at its Sesquicentennial, the campus has much of the new about it, and also much of the old. From the STEPS building (2010), to Seeley G. Mudd, to Zoellner, modern architecture has made good, though respectful, inroads. Yet with Linderman, the Grace Hall palaestra (1942, from E. G. Grace), the Alumni Memorial, and of course Packer Hall itself, Lehigh’s Gothic tradition is not mere past. Even a small 4 acre section of the campus remains from the 19th century when it was known as “University Park”, at the corner of Packer and Brodhead Avenues. However, as education is an ever advancing and changing field, work always remains. Dr. John D. Simon, Chemist, assumes office for the fall semester, 2015, as Lehigh’s 14th President.
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