To the Lafayette Community:
I write to share the news that I have informed the Board of Trustees of my intention to step down as president of Lafayette College at the conclusion of my second contract on June 30, 2021.
It has been a tremendous honor to serve as Lafayette’s 17th president. I am very grateful to the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to lead this extraordinary community and for their strong support and friendship throughout my presidency. It has been a privilege to work with Lafayette’s inspiring faculty, dedicated staff, talented students, and loyal alumni, parents, and friends.
This moment, however, represents a clear inflection point for both the College and for me, as we look back on the accomplishments of the last seven years, and forward to the journey of recovery and renewal that awaits Lafayette and other institutions of higher education in the years to come.
Lafayette will soon begin planning for its next comprehensive fundraising campaign, and for the celebration of the College’s bicentennial in 2026. A transition now will allow the Lafayette community to work alongside new leadership to define a shared vision for the road ahead. It will also allow me to take a sabbatical before undertaking the next phase of my career. I look forward to spending 2021-22 as a visiting scholar in English, affiliated with the Price Lab in Digital Humanities, at the University of Pennsylvania.
I am very proud of the strides we have made since 2013 in making the transformative education offered at Lafayette available to a wider range of students. Recognizing that we were unable to admit many strong students due to the limitations of our financial aid resources, we made increasing need-based financial aid the centerpiece of our strategic direction, Affordability and Distinction through Growth. During the first four years of this initiative, we increased the size of the student body while welcoming first-year students with the highest SAT scores and greatest diversity in Lafayette’s history. At a time when the current health crisis has magnified our awareness of the consequences of socioeconomic inequality and the importance of access to quality education, our commitment to bringing talented students to Lafayette regardless of their family income has become even more vital.
Expanding the size of the student body has also enabled us to enhance the College’s distinction in a variety of areas. We have expanded and diversified the faculty, adding 17 new tenure-track faculty positions in a wide array of fields. The opening last year of the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center signals a new moment of visibility for our historic strength in STEM education, while the approval in 2019 of a Climate Action Plan puts the College on a path to achieve our goal of institutional carbon neutrality by 2035. We are creating a dynamic gateway to our campus and the surrounding College Hill neighborhood with the completion this fall of Phase 1 of the McCartney Street residential and retail project.
The $426 million raised through the successful Live Connected, Lead Change campaign reflects the strong support of the entire community and its keen ambition for Lafayette. When I think of the dedication, commitment, and abiding love for the College that I have seen in my years as president, I feel great confidence in Lafayette’s ability to emerge from this difficult moment as an even stronger and more resilient institution.
Steve and I will continue to treasure the relationships we have built at Lafayette, in Easton, and throughout the Lehigh Valley. Thank you all for your friendship and support. I look forward to our continued work together in the year ahead.