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Presidential Appointment: Message from Brad Eric Scheler, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the University Community,

It is my great honor and privilege to share with you the news today that the University Board of Trustees has appointed John D. Simon as Lehigh’s 14th president.

John is an outstanding choice to serve as president. Currently executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia, he is an accomplished scientist and scholar, and is widely recognized as a distinguished leader in higher education. He will take office here at Lehigh on July 1 of next year. I know you will all join me in congratulating John, and in welcoming him with open arms into the Lehigh community. There will be many opportunities for you to meet with and hear from John in the coming months. I know he is eager to come to campus to meet with faculty, staff and students and to begin meeting our engaged and most passionate alumni.

This appointment concludes an eight-month search process led by our Presidential Search Committee, on which I had the honor, privilege and pleasure of serving as a member ex officio. I extend my heartfelt thanks and utmost gratitude to the committee, and especially to committee co-chairs Kevin Clayton ’84, P’13, and Jane P. Jamieson ’75, who devoted countless hours to this process, served with distinction and produced an outstanding result. 

The committee met with and evaluated distinguished candidates from around the globe, informed throughout the search process by the thoughts, views and opinions of the Lehigh community on the ideal and best qualities and objectives of our next leader. We were deeply heartened to see so many talented and impressive individuals express such enthusiastic interest in the opportunity to lead our beloved university, and we could not be more proud and grateful that our search ended with the appointment of John. We are fully confident that he will bring to Lehigh the talent, wisdom and deep well of experience that will allow our university to accelerate its upward trajectory. His outstanding and impressive record of success speaks for itself.

John has served as executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia since 2011. In that role, he has overseen the academic activities of more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students as well as 2,200 faculty, and managed a budget of $1.4 billion. Under his leadership, the University of Virginia has launched several important global programs, created a new physical presence in Asia and established an Endowment for the Arts, among many other notable accomplishments. Before arriving at the University of Virginia, John served as vice provost of academic affairs at Duke University and also as chairman of Duke’s chemistry department. He received his B.A. in Chemistry from Williams College and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

John and his wife, Diane Szaflarski, an associate professor in University of Virginia’s School of Nursing and lecturer in chemistry, have two sons. Diane will serve as a professor of practice at Lehigh. We very much look forward to getting to know John, Diane and their family in the months to come and introducing them to Lehigh’s special traditions.

I would also like to take this opportunity to offer our deepest thanks to Kevin Clayton once again for his selfless service and steady leadership as Interim President. Since his arrival in August, Kevin has done nothing short of an exemplary job guiding Lehigh during this time of transition.

My thanks and appreciation for all that each of you do to make Lehigh great. I join you in looking forward to an exciting new chapter in Lehigh’s proud history.

Brad Eric Scheler ’74, P’05, P’08, PG’09

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