Lehigh’s excellent reputation is derived from many elements ⎯ outstanding programs, stellar students, and supportive faculty and staff, as well as the long-standing tradition of alumni helping each other to make connections for professional and life successes.
“Your involvement with Lehigh does not end with your degree,” said Danielle Kroo, associate director, Professional Alumni Networks. “We recognize the need and demand between alumni to connect professionally.”
More than 4,000 Lehigh alumni around the world interact with each other through Lehigh affinity and professional alliance groups. Affinity groups serve to connect alumni through a shared interest or identity basis, such as BALANCE, the Black and Latino Alumni Network for Community and Equity, and LAPA, the Lehigh Alumni Pride Association.
Co-executive chair of BALANCE Reginald A. Jennings ’70 is grateful for the affinity group for allowing him to remain involved in Lehigh.
“The period following my graduation from law school was among the most fulfilling in my life, largely because of my engagement at Lehigh. I am grateful for the opportunity that BALANCE presents for me to reengage with the university that I love in a meaningful way,” Jennings said.
“BALANCE strives to strengthen post graduate connections among minority alums and integrate them into a Lehigh alumni network with global impact and reach,” Jennings said and added that the group also allows opportunities for alumni to connect with students on campus.
Lehigh professional alliance groups aid in engagement and creating opportunities to network for professional growth. These programs connect alumni with one another in professional spaces, in order to help them thrive after graduation and well into their career. There are seven professional alliance groups that work in tandem with the Office of Development of Alumni Relations: Lehigh Alumni Sustainability Alliance, Lehigh Healthcare Alliance, Lehigh Innovators Alliance, Lehigh Lawyers Association, Real Estate Alliance, Women's' Professional Alliance, and the Lehigh Wall Street Council.
Networking Corner is another engagement component for alumni to participate in during professional alliance events. Following the formal program, attendees use an “open mic” approach to pose questions that are related to job opportunities, industry connections, or professional development. After the “open mic” time is over, guests further the discussion and network during a reception.
“Networking Corner allows alumni to address a larger audience for feedback instead of just speaking to a few people during the event,” said Kroo. “Our efforts for these alliance events are for alumni and guests to connect, learn, grow, and go.”
To further support connecting alumni, Alumni Relations has introduced Lehigh Connects, a unique platform to connect students, faculty, staff, and alumni in a professional setting. Similar to LinkedIn, this network only allows alumni and Lehigh parents and students to use the platform.
“I have loved using Lehigh Connects as a way to connect with current students and fellow alumni. While LinkedIn is a great resource for building your professional network, it can be daunting to find connections. Lehigh Connects makes networking and mentoring more approachable through the shared connection all members have — the Lehigh experience,” said Bo Johns ’13, executive chair, Lehigh Alumni Club of DC, and vice president, Lehigh University Young Alumni Council. “Since joining the platform, I have had the opportunity to speak with current undergrads about a range of topics including my experience in the arts-engineering program, the transition from college to the ever-daunting 'real world,' and the consulting world. Lehigh Connects’ built-in search, messaging, and scheduling features have been a huge help as we've tried to line up schedules and find common connections.”