For a majority of the Lehigh University Class of 2020 — filled with 17- and 18-year old incoming students — there is a good chance that they didn’t know who guest speakers Joe Sterrett ’76 and Charlie Lieb ’70 were before the 2016 Lehigh Home Club Sendoff on July 13.
Rest assured, Joe and Charlie made sure their remarks were an impacting first impression — especially when it came to their punchlines.
“My most distinguished accomplishment in my 45-year career [at Lehigh] is meeting my wife [Cindy Sterrett ’76] and walking out of this place with a future wife, at a time when there were only a couple hundred women on campus,” Sterrett said, followed by laughter from the crowd of more than 100 attendees gathered in Lamberton Hall.
Humor and laughter would be a common theme during this annual event, but as many of Lehigh’s local incoming students [and their parents/family] are anxiously entering the Lehigh family, wise words from Joe and Charlie once again proved why alumni like themselves are integral parts of the Student Sendoffs’ continued success and calming presence.
“Be prepared for the day that your student talks about going home, and they’re not talking about ‘your home’ — they’re talking about Lehigh. That’s a good thing. That means that they’ve settled in. That means the transition [into adulthood] is nearly complete.” — Joe Sterrett ’76
Here are some snippets of the advice and counsel that Joe and Charlie provided the Class of 2020 and their families during their individual remarks:
Joe (to parents/family)
“This is a very, very exciting opportunity to be a part of. It’s time for you to also have some anxiety, [but] this is a time to celebrate the achievements of your sons, daughters, and family members who have the opportunity to [attend Lehigh].”
Charlie (to students)
“Every [student] in here will graduate if you apply yourself and work hard. There’s no reason to panic. Put it in your mind that you are here because Lehigh wants you here. Lehigh wants you to graduate. You have the talent to graduate or you wouldn’t be here.”
Joe (to students)
“If deep down inside of you, you have a bit of anxiety about what is about to happen to you, that’s really normal. That’s a good thing. It keeps you on edge and keeps you engaged.”
“There is nothing more important to the learning process than your ability to listen.”
“Get your brain in gear because in a month, you’re going to have to read a lot, and just like physical activity, if you stay away from it for too long, it gets really hard to do it again. Physically, you have to stay in shape — your brain is the same way.”
“Write down your thoughts and your feelings, and one day, you’ll be glad that you did it.”
“This time goes really quickly. Right now, it doesn’t feel like that, but four years will go by fast, and you want to take full advantage of that. Go into this with your eyes wide open and a willingness to engage in ways that you haven’t yet experienced in your life.”