Described as one of the most anticipated Lehigh events of the year by Interim President Kevin Clayton ’84 ’13P, the 2015 Scholarship Celebration was an evening of developing friendships, sharing dreams, and bestowing appreciation as scholarship recipients met their benefactors. More than 250 donors and students attended the March 25th dinner held at South Bethlehem’s ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks.
“It’s nice to finally meet the people who are helping me so much. I am very appreciative of their support,” said Anthony Lonero ’17, an industrial engineering major in the integrated business and engineering honors program.
Lonero, who is the recipient of the Fowler Family Endowed Scholarship and the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Scholarship, said that it’s “awesome” that there are people who are able to help students obtain such an outstanding education.
Wyman Fowler ’84, who attended the celebration with his father and long-time Lehigh professor and benefactor, Beall ’59, said of creating the family scholarship, “A college degree these days is more important than ever, and it’s also more expensive than ever. So, anything that we can do to help out, to help people graduate without huge debt loads, is important.”
Kevin Clayton remarked that the evening was truly a special night to honor and show appreciation to our scholarship providers who have given so generously to Lehigh’s extremely talented students.
“As interim president, I have had the opportunity to see and understand from the inside how valuable scholarships are. I have seen, like never before, how vitally important your continued generosity is. It is essential to attract the finest students, which in turn drives continued excellence at Lehigh,” he said. Clayton also introduced John Simon who will begin as Lehigh’s 14th president on July 1.
Being Able to Attract the Best to Lehigh
Guests enjoyed a presentation by Leon Washington, vice provost of admissions and financial aid, and Bruce Bunnick, director of admissions, who spoke about the balancing act of “sculpting” the best incoming class from a diverse community from all over the world.
“We are trying to attract a class best suited for Lehigh. It is a holistic, humanistic process. I couldn’t really say that you have to have this GPA, or this ACT or SAT score to get a toe in the door,” said Bunnick, who added how important the applicant’s personal essay is in the final admission decision. “Standardize testing can measure a lot of things, but it does not measure passion, drive, determination, ethics, and all of those other things that are critically important.”
The Financial Aid Office plays a vital role in helping to overcome financial obstacles for a family who might want a Lehigh education. Washington shared that during the need-blind selection process, the admissions team has “no clue” as to the financial circumstances of an applicant. The Financial Aid Office works to meet the demonstrated need of families in both need-based and merit-based applications, thus helping to build the right mix of students.
Washington told the audience, “Were it not for all of the wonderful work that you do, and I applaud you with your generosity and philanthropy, more than half of the students we are looking at would not have this dream come true. It is absolutely amazing the students we see and where they come from. The scholarship and financial aid dollars make all of the difference.”
The evening also included a musical performance by Lehigh student group Steel City Sunrise, comprised of James Copti ’15, Mikale D’Andrea ’15, Evan Eckersley ’17, Jacob Newman ’14 ’15G, and John Pehnke ’16. Seniors Parrish McClain Jr. ’15 and Madeleine Smith ’15 shared on stage their best experiences as Lehigh students.
“I don’t know where I would be right now if I had decided on another university, but I know that without the help of everyone in this room and those not here as well–students, faculty, administration, and donors alike–I would not have had nearly the same unique and rewarding experience, so thank you everyone. Thank you Lehigh,” Smith said.