Lehigh U. president stepping down

Lehigh University President Alice P. Gast is stepping down to take position in London.

Alice P. Gast, who has led Lehigh University in Bethlehem since 2006, is leaving to take a presidency in London, the university announced this morning.

Gast will step down in July to become the first female president of Imperial College London, a science-focused institution that enrolls 14,000 students and explores interaction between science, medicine, engineering and business.It is known for the discovery of penicillin.

“Alice has been a remarkable leader," Brad Eric Scheler, chair of the board of trustees said in a prepared statement. "With boundless energy, enthusiasm, wisdom, judgment and insight, Alice has advanced and best positioned Lehigh to be at the forefront of higher education in the 21st century.”

During her leadership, the university concluded a $500 million capital campaign,completed a strategic planning process, doubled the percentage of international students on campus and expanded its relationship with the city of Bethlehem, among other initiatives.

“It is difficult for me to leave Lehigh, and I would only consider a move for an extraordinary opportunity," Gast said in a prepared statement. "Imperial College London is one of the world’s great universities, and an established center of excellence in science, technology and medicine and it is a natural fit with my strengths."

Founded in 1907, Imperial also is known for the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics.

A committee will be appointed to mount a search for Lehigh's next leader, Scheler said.

For more information, see Lehigh's press release at http://www4.lehigh.edu/news/newsarticle.aspx?Channel=%2fChannels%2fNews+2013&WorkflowItemID=fbd69537-4970-44b1-b60a-38c4d398b59c

Or Imperial College's press release at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_2-1-2014-16-34-8