Presidential Installation

Something for Everyone

Weaving together a presidential installation and sesquicentennial year kickoff during Founder’s Day weekend.

The installation of a university president is always a momentous occasion. Incorporating the ceremony into a weekend that includes the annual Founder’s Day celebration, Homecoming, and the official kick-off of the Sesquicentennial Year would provide a unique opportunity to harness energy that is both reflective and forward-looking. Lehigh seized such a moment when it installed its 14th president, John D. Simon. A second location augmented the elegant primary venue—providing a very different vibe for members of the campus community. The simulcast allowed all guests to participate in the ceremony, which included the premiere of a specially-commissioned interactive musical piece created by students and the heart-felt presentation of gifts from alumni, faculty, staff, and students.

The presidential inauguration at the threshold of Lehigh’s sesquicentennial was an opportunity to celebrate a new era at the university—looking forward as it welcomed a new president and entered a new era after 150 years of accomplishment. This was a pivotal opportunity to involve all members of the university community in deepening their connection to Lehigh’s next 150 years. Programming needed to engage members from all stakeholder groups in a diverse weekend of experiences, leveraging existing gathering moments to introduce and maximize the impact of new message points, showcasing proof points of Lehigh’s historical influence, and emphasizing the significance of its future contributions.

There was room for everyone to celebrate in the wekend’s festivities, which included a campus-wide Block Party, engagement with Bethlehem community members, an enhanced Homecoming Tailgate experience, and a musically-themed birthday party complete with a gigantic cake. Messaging throughout the weekend began to unveil the new vision for Lehigh’s future. Alumni and institutional accomplishments were proudly displayed in digital and print media, as well as incorporated into spoken remarks.

A new level of confidence and vibrancy underscored Lehigh’s upward trajectory and comfort as a player on the world stage. Programming elements were created by the entire campus community and invitations to connect across media outlets encouraged all to participate meaningfully and often.