A year-end celebration was held to recognize who received nationally competitive scholarships or engaged with the United Nations, among other accomplishments

During this academic year, 43 Lehigh University students or alumni won nationally competitive awards or scholarships, and more than 300 students from all five colleges met with staff from Lehigh’s Office of Fellowship Advising (OFA) to apply for scholarships or make plans to do so in the future.

Additionally, the Lehigh University/United Nations (LU/UN) Partnership hosted more than 30 programs during the 2023-24 year, and more than a dozen Lehigh students, staff, and faculty spoke at the United Nations over that timeframe, discussing such topics as widow’s empowerment, higher education funding, and mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lehigh University students in fold-out chairs inside the lobby of a building, listening to someone speak at a podium
Students gathered in the lobby of Lehigh's Business Innovation Building for the year-end celebration.

“I commend you for thinking beyond your current status, and envisioning a wider future and sphere of reference, exposing yourself to different approaches, perspectives, cultures, languages, religions, and traditions,” said Bill Hunter, Director, Fellowship Advising and UN Programs at Lehigh. “You're well on the way to taking a seat at the global leadership table.”

A year-end celebration was held on May 6 to recognize the accomplishments of students who engaged with OFA and LU/UN Partnership, including winners or finalists for national scholarships, students who served on OFA committees, United Nations Youth Representatives, or students who interned with the LU/UN Partnership.

Engaging with the World

OFA works with Lehigh students, faculty, staff, and alumni to prepare nationally competitive scholarship and fellowship applications. In the past seven years, 191 students, faculty, staff and alumni have won nationally competitive scholarships with help from OFA, totaling more than an estimated $2.1 million in funding for their endeavors.

In 2023-24, 43 students and faculty won Fulbright Scholarships, Boren Awards, Gilman Scholarships, U.S. National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU), DAAD Rise internships, or RUHR internships. Many of these award winners introduced themselves during the year-end celebration.

With these awards, the recipients will be headed to places such as CERN in Switzerland, Germany and Peru for research, Serbia and Indonesia for language study, and a variety of countries for academic study, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Italy, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Bill Hunter, Director of Fellowship Advising and UN Programs at Lehigh
Bill Hunter, Director of Fellowship Advising and UN Programs at Lehigh, speaking at the celebration.

“All of you have really taken advantage of the things that make Lehigh a special place,” said Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs at Lehigh. “Our vision for a Lehigh education is that students will engage with the world and live lives of meaning, and part of engagement with the world is not just seeing or hearing it, but really doing things that allow you to be a part of it and understand the big problems that we need to solve.”

Continued Growth and Interest

Additionally, two Lehigh students were Rhodes Scholarship finalists this academic year, and an alumnus won the prestigious Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. The OFA also received an unusually high number of visits from first-year students this year, which Hunter attributes in part to student referrals and recommendations from Lehigh faculty and staff.

“Please keep the referrals to these high potential students coming,” Hunter said. “You are our best talent scouts. You know the students best.”

Interest in the LU/UN Partnership also remains high. In the past academic year, nearly 900 students, faculty, and staff registered to receive the partnership’s newsletter, with the intention of joining its many trips to the United Nations or taking part in its UN programs on campus, Hunter said.

The LU/UN Partnership hosted more than 30 programs this year, including meetings with the Ukrainian Ambassador, the chief nuclear arms negotiator for the United Kingdom, the South Korean Representative to the UN Security Council, and the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) New York office.

UN Programs and Internships

Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs at Lehigh
Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs at Lehigh, speaking at the celebration.

“I think it’s tremendous to note that out of 56 Lehigh students who have applied to become interns at the United Nations, all 56 were accepted,” said Nathan Urban, Lehigh Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “That’s tremendous, and it speaks to the quality and dedication of our students, and to all those who came before those students.”

Lehigh will collaborate on a presentation with WHO before the United Nations next week, the only American university invited to do so. Additionally, the delegations of the Dutch and German Missions of the United Nations in New York have become the fifth and sixth missions to be certified by Lehigh University’s Partnership for Sustainable United Nations Missions.

That program is a voluntary initiative designed for Missions based in New York to integrate sustainable practices into the workplace. Missions have the opportunity to work with Lehigh student teams to identify tangible ways to bring the Greening the Blue environmental sustainability framework into their offices.

Hunter acknowledged the OFA staff during the year-end celebration, including Assistant Director Elena Reiss, Fellowship Advisor Jennifer Marangos, and Coordinator Helen Rivera. He also thanked Krista Liguori, Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Population Health, for her assistance with the LU/UN Partnership.