Cameron Wesson

This issue of the magazine explores the impact of research and scholarship on CAS alumni, faculty, and students

Dear Friends,

This issue of Acumen comes to you at an important juncture in the College’s history. Since stepping into the dean’s role in July, I have had the fortune to discuss many visions for the future of the College presented by our faculty. In the seven years I have been a member of the Lehigh faculty, I have learned a great deal about the scholarship of many of my colleagues. We continue to expand our research agenda and bring innovative approaches to education, whether in the classroom, laboratory, studio, or stage. Reflecting on both our present strengths and our promising visions for the future, I remain confident we are in a position to provide students with truly transformational educational opportunities. 

To strengthen its support and empower heightened scholarship, Lehigh has embarked on a $1 billion campaign, the most ambitious such effort in Lehigh history. These resources are needed if we are to expand and build on an emersive approach to liberal arts education that is gaining interest among many of our peers. Regardless of the discipline, our guiding principle remains the same—provide the strongest foundation in liberal education and impart an interest in lifetime learning with a focus on developing the future leaders of our ever-changing global society.

As you will see in the following pages, successful careers and civic lives often require the key elements found in a Lehigh liberal arts education—interdisciplinary approaches to critical thinking, the ability to have a dialogue with others who possess alternative perspectives, and sensitivity to the cultural, economic, and societal differences of others. Inside you will discover how the Africana Studies program, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is developing public facing programming that impacts not only Lehigh students, but also the community at large. You’ll learn about Lehigh’s recently established Center for Ethics, a cross-college initiative spearheaded by CAS faculty. Research in the humanities continues to thrive at Lehigh, and the Humanities Center remains a key factor in supporting a vibrant college community under the direction of Suzanne Edwards. Doctoral student Jimmy Hamill returned to the PhD program in English after receiving his master’s degree at Lehigh and is an advocate for change on campus. And our alumni continue to help shape the College’s future. Craig Franklin ’87 is helping advance the Religion Studies program and, with his wife Kathy ’93, leads the Marching 97 Booster Club. Mike Macaluso ’83 started a company to make money by solving global problems and now provides internship opportunities to Lehigh undergraduate students.

In some respects, this issue also highlights the scholarship and inclusive community I want to champion as dean. We live in world of rapid change and our students must be ready to adapt and thrive. Many of our students will work in jobs that don’t exist today, but the liberal arts education they receive at Lehigh prepares them to be tomorrow’s leaders. The College opened an advising center in 2015 which has proven to be critical in contributing to student success by empowering students to engage in their educational planning. 

As the University enters its campaign, I am fully aware that the work we do is impossible without the interest and support of our alumni. We develop individuals who leave South Mountain ready to make a lasting mark on the world around them. Our alumni make wonderful things happen. If you have wanted to become involved with the College, or would like to know more about how you can be connected as an alumnus/a, please contact Kelly Stazi, Director of Development, at (610) 758-2824 or This issue of Acumen highlights many College alumni, students, and faculty who are agents of change. It casts a spotlight on their talents and commitments. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I have. I invite you to learn more about how alumni can play a role in these types of programs. As Lehigh alumni, you can help shape the future of today’s, and tomorrow’s, students. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

Cameron Wesson
Interim Dean