This issue of Acumen celebrates the diversity that is central to the College of Arts and Sciences

Dear friends,

I am most excited to share with you the latest issue of Acumen. This issue revolves around the importance of diversity within the College of Arts and Sciences and the stories within represent the significance of the critical conversations we foster as our students continue to advance in their respective disciplines and interests.

The College of Arts and Sciences strives to create an environment of inclusive excellence—a place for our faculty, our staff and our students to lead and succeed whatever their background, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation. The diversity that I found when I came here led me to think about the ways we can leverage that talent into new and exciting endeavors that can have a lasting effect on students’ lives.

We share a responsibility to ensure that the College truly reflects the diversity of the world in which we live. Part of the richness of what we offer in the College is a diverse array of programs. We also have the most diverse faculty and student population in the university. As a reflection of our desire to create diversity conversations, over the past few years we’ve started engaging in a project I call a “Dialogue Toward Understanding.”  In a global economy, students need to understand cultural and social differences and understand the complexity of the world around them. This dialogue demands that students move outside of their comfort zones, move outside disciplinary boundaries as they better understand themselves and others. 

When people from diverse backgrounds and experiences are brought together, revolutionary ideas emerge. Having our preconceptions challenged and seeing new perspectives lifts us out of group-think mentality and enriches the learning experience. You will see this for yourself in the following pages. Acclaimed actor Akin Babatunde has joined us for the spring semester as the Horger Artist in Residence, where he brings new perspectives to developing young artists. Discover how graduate student Rohullah  Naderi will take what he studies at Lehigh and apply it to his political aspirations in his native Afghanistan. Learn how undergraduate researcher Devon Carter ’16 examines race and our interpretations of athletes’ behavior. Our students often continue the work long after leaving South Mountain. Margaret Hagerman ’04 ’06G examines how parental behavior influences white children’s views about race in America.

The College of Arts and Sciences is strongly committed to increasing the diversity of its student body, faculty, and staff to better reflect the diversity of American society. Those efforts were reflected in our recent funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities to expand our efforts. I hope you enjoy reading the following stories as much as I have. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support diversity initiatives within the College of Arts and Sciences, please contact Kelly Stazi, our director of development. 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 students in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.


Donald E. Hall
Herbert and Ann Siegel Dean