Valley News – Dartmouth Provost heads Lehigh University

Published: 04/26/2021 5:09:31 PM

Modified: 04/27/2021 3:11:38 AM

HANNOVER – After serving in top jobs at Dartmouth College for more than 15 years, Provost Joseph Helble is leaving Hanover to serve as President of Lehigh University, officials said on Monday.

It will be something of a homecoming for Helble, who graduated from Lehigh with a degree in chemical engineering in 1982.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a private research university has more than 7,000 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs.

“Although it was difficult for me to imagine leaving Dartmouth, the opportunity to return to my alma mater in a leadership position and help shape the future of this institution was extremely attractive and not a chance that many people have,” said Helble on Monday in one Interview.

As Provost since 2018, Helble has served as Dartmouth’s Chief Academic and Budget Officer and has remained a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering, where he served as dean for 13 years.

Helble has also played a pivotal role in Dartmouth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every two weeks, Helble co-hosted Community Conversations, a webcast where he kept viewers updated on virus statistics, answered questions, and interviewed experts on topics such as vaccine effectiveness and student social distancing.

“When I was Provost, we were able to weather the pandemic in a way that is among the best in the country when it comes to retaining our students, faculty and staff. and the wider community, safe and sound. I’m really proud of that, ”said Helble.

“Perhaps I am very grateful to Joe for the calm, steady leadership he has shown as an examiner in managing the pandemic this year – certainly one of the most tumultuous times in Dartmouth history,” said Phil Hanlon, President of Dartmouth, in an email to the Dartmouth Student Union on Monday.

During his tenure as dean, Helble, who also received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, oversaw a sharp surge in interest in engineering and computer science. Thayer saw a record increase in the school’s research funding, and enrollment nearly doubled. In 2016, Dartmouth became the first major research institution to award more engineering degrees to women than men. “I am very proud of this diversification of the student body,” said Helble.

Helble was also a proponent of the West End expansion of Dartmouth in Hanover, including the ongoing construction of a $ 155 million building for the Thayer School and Dartmouth computer science department.

Kevin Clayton, chairman of the Lehigh Board of Trustees, said Helble’s leadership in Dartmouth made him the first choice among a pool of accomplished candidates.

“We are tremendously impressed with the personal and professional qualities that have made him so successful at Dartmouth and we are confident that those qualities will make him an outstanding President at Lehigh,” said Clayton.

Leaving Dartmouth, Helble is excited about the expansion of engineering, computer science and entrepreneurship in college, and the investment and continued growth of the arts.

He hopes the college will continue to highlight the liberal arts as essential to the development of all students.

“I’ve been a lifelong Dartmouth fan,” said Helble, who recently turned 61 and continues to run marathons. “So I’ll watch.”

Helble will start in Lehigh on August 16, replacing John Simon, who will retire as president in June.

Hanlon plans to appoint an interim provost while a search committee looks for Helble’s replacement.

Frances Mize can be reached at [email protected]

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