Harvey Alexander Neville the only faculty member ever elected president, joined Lehigh in 1927 as an assistant professor of chemistry. In 1951, as head of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Degree program, he began to organize a formal chemical engineering department. He hired professors, Leonard Wenzel and Alan Foust to form the department of which Foust would soon become the first head. Neville also increased the funding from the National Science Foundation in nearly every science and engineering department during his tenure.
During his three-year presidency, the first phase of the Saucon Valley athletic complex was completed, and Sayre Field was opened atop South Mountain. The Center for Information and Computing Science was was established.
Neville received both his masters' and doctorate degrees from Princeton University. He taught in the chemistry department at Princeton and the University of Illinois before accepting a position at Lehigh in 1927. He was Department Chair from 1938-1952 and served as Director of the Institute for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. He was also University Provost for four years before becoming Lehigh's ninth president. He was a member of the national engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, and the national service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega.
Neville, a strong supporter of research on campus, died in 1983.