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Lehigh University


Dr. Henry Sturgis Drinker

President of Lehigh University


Dr. Drinker has now served as President of Lehigh for ten years. When, in June, 1905, he was elected to succeed Dr. Drown he had been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1893, and prior to that time an active alumnus of the University, holding successively the positions of Secretary and President of the Alumni Association and of Alumni Trustee.

Graduated from Lehigh in 1871, Dr. Drinker was, first as engineer and later as Counsel, connected with the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company for many years, serving under six consecutive Presidents of that Company from Asa Packer to E.B. Thomas; and his work and interests have, during all of his active life, been centered in our Valley of the Lehigh.

One marked service of Dr. Drinker during his incumbency as President of Lehigh has been his direction of the University into public service lines. In his connection as President of the American Forestry Association for three terms, as Vice-President and Executive Committee member of the National Conservation Congress, as President of the National Reserve Corps since its organization at Gettysburg three years ago, as a member and Secretary of the Advisory Board of College and University Presidents on students’ military instruction camps, as a member of the College and University Council, controlling higher education in Pennsylvania, as a prominent advocate of broad, sane measures looking to ultimate peace among the nations, — in all of these movements of national importance, there has been achievement — and consequent recognition for Lehigh.

The pride that Alumni of the University feel in the accomplishments of their energetic President is shared by the citizens of this community. When Mr. Emil Diebitsch, retiring as President of the Alumni Association, paid tribute last June to “the tireless, unflagging, unselfish loyalty” of Dr. Drinker and declared that "the list of his good deeds for Lehigh is far too long to even recite at a luncheon”, the list, had it been given in detail, would surely have included reference to the present cordial relations between the University and the community.

Every athletic contest in Taylor stadium and gymnasium, every public function in, Packer Memorial Church, furnishes evidence that Town and Gown here are one in interest and in spirit.

Local citizens appreciate that the present administration has led students to realize their obligation to the town. They understand that, in its Friday college lectures open to the public, in its evening and Saturday extension courses for teachers, mechanics and business men, and in various other activities, the University is striving to serve the community in the fullest possible measure.

It is because of these things and because he has met and cooperated with them at all times upon a basis of sincere and active interest that the citizens of South Bethlehem take pride and pleasure in the honors that have come to Henry Sturgis Drinker.



Alumni and friends of Lehigh from all parts of the country will gather here on Alumni Day, June 3, next year, to join in a celebration of the jubilee anniversary of the University.

The exercises, in which local citizens will join most heartily, will mark a half century in the history of an institution that has taken an acknowledged place among the foremost of the smaller colleges in America. For, although the original object of the founder was “to afford the young men of the Lehigh Valley a complete education, technical, literary and scientific, for those professions represented in the development of the peculiar resources of the surrounding region”, the University has advanced far beyond the local in its appeal, influence and enrollment. Its reputation along technical lines has become national. It has trained a small but important representation of Arts and Science men. The University’s present enrollment of seven hundred and fifty includes students from twenty-seven states and thirteen foreign countries. And Lehigh has, uinder President Drinker’s administration, attained note for its activity along public service lines, — including the conservation of national resources, military preparedness and the enforcement of peace.



Dr. Henry Coppee



Space permits a brief sketch only of the history of the University.

Lehigh was founded by Asa Packer, a pioneer in coal mining and transportation history, whom President McCrea of the Pennsylvania Railroad termed “conspicuous among great men and public benefactors whose lives and accomplishments are worthy of emulation".

Judge Packer made his name remembered for two things: his major share in the building up of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and his founding of Lehigh University. In these days of big scale philanthropy, it is interesting to know that Judge Packer was a pioneer in munificent giving; his endowment of the University, including an appropriation of land, totaled probably three million dollars, said to be the largest donation by one American to the cause of education up to that time.

The act, incorporating Lehigh University, was passed by the Legislature of Pennsylvania on February 9, 1866. The institution was formally opened on Saturday, September 1, of that year. Addresses were delivered by the founder, by the late William H. Sayre, Jr., by Dr. Henry Coppée the first President, and others.

A good idea of the life at Lehigh in the earliest days is presented in an alumni address given by Dr. S.P. Sadtler, ‘69, of Philadelphia:

“It was in the second year of its existence that I joined it, entering the Junior Class, the highest at that time in the University. The class consisted of six, of whom two were partial students. Freshman and Sophomore classes, however, of respectable size and most excellent material were in existence. The Faculty, also, six in number, was composed of men eminent in their several professions, and we all worked together very much like a family, in the little building known as Christmas Hall. The walls of Packer Hall were just beginning to show, and the Observatory, Library, Gymnasium and Chemical Laboratory buildings had not been projected as yet. The Freshman Class was accommodated with lodgings in the attic story of Christmas Hall, and the Sophomores and three of the six Juniors were allowed to room and board in small detached houses along Saucon Street, under less rigid supervision. The other three of the Junior Class lived over in the town of Bethlehem. The practical instruction in Chemistry was carried out in one of the corner basement rooms in Christmas Hall, and the class in Crystallography and Mineralogy recited in a second-story room of a small office building belonging to the Lehigh Valley Railroad, situated just below the depot, and right alongside of the main track of the railroad."

In 1871 Judge Packer increased his original gifts to the University and the original tuition fees were discontinued. In 1891 the Board of Trustees were compelled to again charge for tuition.

The Wilbur Scholarship, a prize of $200 given annually to the student in the Sophomore Class having the highest general average, was established in 1872 by the late E.P. Wilbur, for many years a trustee of the University.

Dr. Coppée resigned the Presidency in 1885, retaining the chair of the English Language and Literature. Succeeding Presidents were: Dr. J.M. Leavitt, Dr. R.A. Lamberton, and Dr. T.M. Drown. President Drinker was inaugurated in 1905.

A valuable side-light upon Lehigh history was furnished in the alumni address given at the University last June by Dr. Edward H. Williams, Jr., E.M. ‘76, who was Professor of Mining and Geology from 1881 to 1902 and who is now a lecturer of the University.

Tracing the change of sentiment from the time when “no gentleman could by any possibility have engaged in a walk of life outside the three ‘genteel’ professions, theology, law and medicine”, to the present day when “we see technical men placed in the seats of the mighty and honored with the highest academic degree”, Professor Williams declared “Lehigh University has played a large and high part in effecting that change.”

Then followed a review of certain material and scholastic improvements at the University — Drown Memorial Hall, the Dormitories, Taylor Gymnasium and Field, the Conference School headed by Professor Lambert, ‘83.


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