Young Alumni Council member Matt Raborn ’13 ’14G graduated from Lehigh with degrees in industrial engineering and management science & engineering. Currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina, Matt indulges in a variety of experiences including taking in local sporting events, corn hole at local breweries, and engaging with the Research Triangle Community. Matt’s most recent activities include taking improv comedy classes and volunteering at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at the Information Desk. Matt moved from his home state of New Jersey a year ago for his new job working in Supply Chain Management for Merck.
As an alumnus, how do you stay involved with Lehigh?
MR: I’m involved with the Young Alumni Council, Admissions Alumni Outreach, Reunion 2018 Planning Committee, Phi Delta Theta Chapter Advisory Board, and Asa Packer Society.
How do you stay in touch with fellow alumni? What is your favorite thing to do together?
MR: I have a group of close classmates who get together annually at reunion or a separate occasion to hang out and catch up on what we’re doing in life. We all live in different parts of the country and have our respective careers, but coming back together allows us to connect on that same level that we were able to connect on when we were students at Lehigh. Times like these remind me how much influence Lehigh has had on my life.
Aside from those gatherings, I talk to my Lehigh friends at least weekly. Either through group chats or FaceTime, we talk about what we’ve all been up to and plan on the next time we’ll see each other. My favorite thing to do is to visit them where they live now and get introduced to their lives and hobbies. It’s great to see how they’ve changed since Lehigh, but also stayed the same.
Is there a particular place on campus that you must visit every time you return to campus?
MR: Walking through the heart of campus on Memorial Drive is my favorite thing to do when I come back. I have given so many tours through that route that I could literally walk that drive backwards. So many places on campus hold special memories (good and not so good), but Memorial Drive gives you the best view of many campus staples, and the journey I took almost daily as a student walking to and from classes and activities.
Tell us about an unexpected run-in you had with a fellow Lehigh alumni.
MR: The Lehigh run-in I will never forget happened one day while I was at work. Walking through the hallway on my way to a meeting, I saw the “Lehigh Beat Duke” poster from a Lehigh Bulletin with C.J. McCollum on it. The unknown Lehigh alum was not in their cube at the time, but I took their name down and reached out to them and connected on all things Lehigh. The story got even better when I found out that we are in the same fraternity! Times like these remind me how big the Lehigh family is and how home is never far away. I’ve also had a few run-ins with Lafayette alumni at work that have lead to fun pranks back and forth.
Whether it is through donating time or money, why do you think it is important for you to stay involved and support Lehigh?
MR: Having been a student at Lehigh, and then entering life beyond Lehigh, you are able to provide a different perspective to current and prospective students and faculty. There are a lot of opportunities to provide advice and perspective as someone who was shaped by Lehigh and is able to take that influence and merge it with the changing culture and society outside of Lehigh. As an alumna/us who stays in touch with the current happenings at Lehigh, it allows you to also stay grounded and have a reminder of what has contributed to shaping you into the person you are today.
Which fan base do you enjoy teasing more: Lafayette fans or Duke fans?
MR: Living in the college basketball state of North Carolina, I get so much joy telling locals that I’m a Lehigh alumnus and seeing their shoulders shrink as a Duke fan or face light up as a Duke-hater (everyone else). I enjoy this so much, that when I registered my car in North Carolina, I couldn’t help but get a license plate that commemorated Lehigh’s win forever. My “LU75DU70” license plate with a Lehigh Alumni license plate holder may not seem obvious to most people, but I like to think everyone in Durham stops and stares when I make the 20-minute drive from Raleigh to Durham. The significance of the plate being the final score to the basketball game: Lehigh University 75, Duke University 70.
If you had to pick one Lehigh/Bethlehem “delicacy” to eat for the rest of your life (guilt-free), what would it be?
MR: Most people I would bet would say a sandwich from The Goose. Which is a great response and not trying to denounce it at all, but for me, it’s the garlic knots from Sal’s and Mama Nina’s. Hands down, I have never tasted anything that comes close to them. I could eat them every meal without hesitation.
What is your favorite Lehigh item that you own?
MR: That’s tough…my apartment is covered in Lehigh items. If I had to choose, it would probably be a watch I got as a gift with the Lehigh crest on it. I’m reminded each time I look at my wrist of Lehigh and all memories associated with it.