This issue explores the important impact of the arts at Lehigh

The fall 2017 issue of Acumen marks the five-year anniversary of the College of Arts and Sciences producing a magazine about and for its alumni. Since 2012, I’ve enjoyed discovering wonderful stories about CAS alumni making a difference in many ways. 

This issue thematically explores the importance of the arts at ehigh and the impact they make on many of our students. We live in a time when many pundits expound the virtues of technical training, yet an arts education is critical in fostering the abilities required of graduates as they enter careers. Students who perform on stage, work backstage, create in the studio, or find a voice through the written word, develop skills such as innovation, creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and self-direction. Teaching the arts is, at its most basic element, teaching experimentation, risk-taking, and new knowledge generation. Americans for the Arts argues: “teaching creativity develops critical thinking, engages students and fosters innovation.” Lehigh promotes its ability to develop leadership and innovative skills in our students and these talents come to the fore in the College of Arts and Sciences. When exposed to the arts, students learn to approach challenges as opportunities. Working with their professors, their fellow musicians, artists, actors, and technical staff, they learn to collaborate and problem solve. Their critical thinking skills improve and they learn valuable perspectives in dialogue with others. 

The College is home to an amazing community of faculty and students. In this issue, you will meet Gelsey Bell ’04 who is finding success as a singer, composer, and actress. You will discover Casey Rule ’11, who has founded an online choral publishing company, as well as theatre major and Horger Scholar Kalyani Singh. Lewis Baer ’72 talks about his lifelong connections to Lehigh. Our faculty continue to impact their respective fields. Ricardo Viera, director and curator of Lehigh University Art Galleries, has grown a teaching collection from 2,500 pieces to 15,000 and created a renowned hands-on learning environment for Lehigh students. Stephanie Watts, associate professor of English, is receiving well-deserved national and international acclaim for her ground-breaking new novel. 

During my tenure as dean, I have had many opportunities to meet with alumni who speak of the enduring mark that Lehigh’s arts programs left on them. If you haven’t been to campus in a while, I invite you to come back and attend a performance or spend time in one of our galleries. Lehigh’s reputation is due to the energetic people who form the heart of an educational institution and the soul of students’ educational experience. A university’s reputation is also strengthened by the support of its alumni. 

I welcome comments from alumni and look forward to the feedback I receive with each issue. If you know of someone who will make a good story, send us a note at acumen@lehigh. edu. Please enjoy this issue of Acumen. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments. 

Donald E. Hall
Herbert and Ann Siegel Dean