While in London for an alumni event, Lehigh University President Joseph J. Helble made sure to spend some time with students currently studying abroad in the city

Lehigh University students and staff at a dinner in London
Lehigh University President Joseph J. Helble '82 and other Lehigh officials had dinner with seven study abroad students in the Caravan King's Cross restaurant in London.

Lehigh University President Joseph J. Helble ’82 visited London last week to speak with more than 100 alumni living in or around the city. But while he was there, he also made sure to spend time with some of the current Lehigh students studying abroad in London this year.

Helble and other Lehigh officials hosted seven study abroad students for a dinner on March 13 at the Caravan King’s Cross restaurant, speaking to them about their experiences in London, their thoughts on Lehigh-related issues, and a variety of other topics.

“I think as a group, we really appreciated the open dialogue and how he was so eager to hear our perspectives as students,” said Lauren Lencovich ’25, who is pursuing a degree in Population Health with a minor in Maternal and Child Health. “We all highly valued the conversation and got something different from it.”

Additionally, Helble invited the students to join him in a 4-mile run around London’s Hyde Park – starting at the famous Marble Arch – as part of his Pace the Prez running series. Helble regularly hosts runs on the Lehigh campus in which students, faculty, and staff can run along and connect with him.

“I’ve never done Pace the Prez runs back home at Lehigh, but maybe I’ll start from now on,” said Amanda Silberstein ’25, a Clinical Psychology major. She added about Helble: “He’s really fast!”

After the run, Helble said: “I always love to connect with the students. This is a just another manifestation of how I try to connect with the students during my regular Pace the Prez runs about issues on campus and their Lehigh experiences.”

“Great Conversations”

Lehigh University community members standing in a park holding or wearing grey running shirts
Lehigh students Lauryn Jones and Amanda Silberstein (third and second from right) joined Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble (third from right) and others on his Pace th Prez run in London.

Lencovich said during the dinner, Helble asked the students about their London studies and how they compare to their Lehigh courses. He also asked their favorite parts about the Lehigh experience, as well as what aspects they would change if they could, she said.

“We all had great conversations with everyone,” Lencovich said.

Lauryn Jones ’25, a pre-med student pursuing a Population Health degree with a minor in Biology, said Helble asked their opinions about various things currently happening on campus, as well as how the university can better engage with Bethlehem’s South Side community.

“It was really nice to hear that the President and Lehigh administration really care about the South Side,” said Jones, who volunteers at the Broughal Middle School near campus and runs an after-school club there. “That really stuck out to me, and it felt like we had a meaningful and engaging discussion about it.”

“Meaningful and Engaging Discussion”

Silberstein said he and Helble discussed how the Lehigh community was responding to the Israel-Hamas War, which Silberstein described as a “close, personal issue” for her. She appreciated the perspective Helble provided, and said it prompted her to have further discussions with her parents later that night.

“I'd never met the President in person before that dinner,” Silberstein said. “It was good to have the opportunity to speak directly with him, he really cared about what we thought about these issues.”

Two Lehigh University students speaking to Lehigh President Joseph Helble at dinner
Lehigh students Lauren Lencovich and Lauryn Jones (respectiveley) speaking with Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble during dinner.

Siberstein and Jones both also participated in the Pace the Prez run. Jones said she enjoyed it, particularly because she had never gone that far into Hyde Park before.

London is one of the more than 250 study abroad programs offered by Lehigh in more than 60 countries, from shorter programs led by Lehigh faculty or staff to semester- or year-long programs offered by our partners.

Lehigh's Study Abroad Program

One of Lehigh’s biggest partners when it comes to providing study aboard opportunities is the the International Education of Students (IES). Most of the students at Helble’s dinner were studying at the IES Abroad London Center, which is not far from the Caravan King’s Cross restaurant.

A leading not-for-profit study abroad and internship provider,  IES offers more than 140 programs in 30 locations around the world to fit a wide rage of academic needs. Lehigh is one of more than 275 U.S. colleges that partners with IES.

Other students at the dinner – like Olivia Byers ’25, a Political Science major – is studying in London through an internship provided by Lehigh and Boston University.

Aliya Dworkin ’25 and Audrey Vitello, ’25 also attended the dinner, as did Cheryl Matherly, Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs; Mark Erickson, Interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations; and John Leiner, Associate Director of International Development.