Carrying Lehigh Rally Flag Carries Dual Honor

Howard Foltz ’77 ’80G carries the flag of his father’s class during Lehigh’s First-Year Student/Alumni Rally--an annual tradition that celebrates Lehigh history and welcomes first year students.
Howard Foltz ’77 ’80G carries the flag of his father’s class during Lehigh’s First-Year Student/Alumni Rally–an annual tradition that celebrates Lehigh history and welcomes first year students.

Howard Foltz ’77 ’80G enthusiastically supports Lehigh not only for himself, but also for his father, Lehigh alum William A. Foltz. As a long-standing class officer, the younger Foltz has frequently carried a class flag since his fifth reunion during the First-Year Student/Alumni Rally — a tradition that celebrates Lehigh history and welcomes first-year students. But, for the past five years, it has not been his class flag that he carries.

His father, William, began his education at Lehigh as a member of the Class of 1946. However, history changed his plans. Howard proudly stated, “My dad interrupted his school experience to go to war.”

World War II struck lives everywhere, and Lehigh students were equally affected by the call to serve.

“You think about a 20-year-old having to go through that instead of just going to his or her next class — it’s so different than what we know today,” he said. “But when people are asked to step up, they can do incredible things. And they did.”

His father’s dedication to Lehigh endured after the war, when he returned to earn a mechanical engineering degree with the Class of 1950.

Howard honors his father and his service by carrying the flag of his initial class year — 1946 — during Lehigh’s annual late summer Rally.

“I feel really good honoring not only my dad but a lot of his classmates who did the same thing. I think it’s important to remember people who went before us,” he said.

On a lighter note, Howard added, “Plus, my dad would be 91 years old, so when I carry his ’46 flag, everybody says, ‘Boy, doesn’t he look great for his age?’”

As he prepares to carry his father’s class flag at this year’s Rally on August 22, Howard looks back to his college years as a business economics major and remembers his own first Rally.

Despite the fact that he and his classmates were crowded into Grace Hall, steaming in the summer heat, his memories reflect the candid excitement sparked in each incoming class during their Rally.

He said that John Steckbeck, an intramural coach who was adored by students and nicknamed “Steck,” played an integral role in the vibrant night.

“He got us all pepped up on what is Lehigh. We were sitting there in a hot gym Labor Day weekend, yelling, ‘’77, this is heaven!’ It was just a phenomenal experience,” remembered Howard, who continued his education and also earned his MBA degree at Lehigh. “Whenever I go back to the Rally, I just think of the energy that we had and our welcome to the university. I look at this as an opportunity to get another class all excited about their Lehigh identity.”

Though he and his father both grew up in Easton, PA, he jokingly demonstrates his true loyalty, and said, “We much prefer brown to maroon.”

Kelsey Leck ’16

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