The fall semester is always an exciting time to be on campus. There is a sense of renewal and progress as new faces join us in the classrooms. Once again, you will find that the stories contained in Acumen exemplify the best of what we do in the arts and sciences—develop world citizens who are trained and eager to be active leaders throughout their lives. As part of its strategic plan, Lehigh talks about what it means to lead, and the intrinsic qualities of leadership are found in an arts and sciences education. Leadership is both an art and science. Leadership is an art because it requires imagination and creative skill. No two leaders approach a challenge exactly alike, and our faculty impart to our students the skills needed to approach challenges from multiples perspectives to find success. Leadership is also a science. The natural sciences, as well as the fields of political science, psychology, and sociology, shape our understanding of leadership and provide arenas for its practice. The combination of arts and sciences creates leaders who possess the ability to communicate their views powerfully, to express their ideas creatively, and to analyze data before they act.
The stories found in Acumen are prime examples of the College’s ability to develop leaders. The college’s Community Fellows program is shaping tomorrow’s leaders by strengthening the relationships between Lehigh and regional nonprofits and governmental agencies active in the broad areas of economic and community development. Matt Berman ’94 and Andrew Kotchen ’94 are leading the way in green design as partners of a New York City design firm. On campus, graduate student Dan Coviello ’13 ‘15G is transforming youth engagement through his work at the United Nations, while Douglas Solowey ’15 is examining novel ways to incorporate fluorine into organic molecules as a prestigious Moissan Summer Research fellow. You’ll also learn of Clare DeNicola ’85 and her leadership in the realm of marketing and communications, and Amy Shotmeyer ‘06, who combined her passions for journalism and the environment and went on to an impressive legal career.
A hallmark of an arts and sciences education is our students’ ability to anticipate and lead change, to view challenges as opportunities, to turn knowledge into action, and to make a difference in the world. We seek to make the most of student growth and development while placing the individual in the broader context of human culture and the natural world. It is no surprise that two of the most revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century—Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs—were also individuals who loved music, art, and culture. They had a complexity of vision acquired through a deep exposure to the original thinking and creative expression that leads to innovation. Jobs attributed some of his most revolutionary innovations in designing the first generation of Apple computers to the influence of a calligraphy class he took while in college. Similarly Einstein studied and play violin, and had a deep love of German philosophy. These were not narrowly trained technicians.
We are doing things right at Lehigh. Our enrollments are high and our students are going on to highly successful careers. The College of Arts and Sciences provides the essential core training that students need in order to lead in life: an ability to understand ambiguity, to reason with care and sensitivity, and to approach problems in all of their complexity. Your support of our mission is crucial. Lehigh alumni play important roles in helping mold tomorrow’s leaders. Enjoy this issue of Acumen. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Donald E. Hall
Herbert and Ann Siegel Dean