Herbert R. Imbt was to enroll at Lafayette College, but, “On the way home from a visit there, I drove 12 miles out of my way to see Lehigh,” he recalled. “Lehigh was really where I wanted to go.” He withdrew his Lafayette application and became a leader on Lehigh’s campus and, eventually, in Pennsylvania’s construction business.
Imbt’s early career with the Pennsylvania Department of Highways was interrupted by a five-year stint with the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers. He rose to the rank of colonel. Before his 1946 discharge, he earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Air Medical with Cluster and two Presidential Citations. He came home to work for a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation contractor in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, returning to public service when elected to the state House of Representatives. Imbt opened his own construction business in 1947 in State College. His firm became one of the state’s largest, and was sold on his retirement to the Koppers Company, Inc.
A graduate of nearby Cedar Crest, Catharine (Kay) Imbt participated with her husband at Lehigh events. They provided for the renovation and expansion of Lehigh’s hydraulics laboratory, and the purchase and development of the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) research center on the Mountaintop Campus.
Imbt was recognized for his contributions and achievements by Lehigh’s Alumni Association, which presented him with the prestigious Alumni Award, and by the Lehigh faculty, which voted to give him an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1986. He died in 1989.