Letter to Malia Obama: Come to Lehigh!

Dear Malia,
As the college application phase of your life begins, we know how daunting of an experience it can be. I thought I might make your decision a little easier with a list of reasons why you should attend Lehigh University. Wherever you choose to attend college, make sure your decision reflects your interests! Here are some reasons why Lehigh would be a good fit for you:
1. 2,600 steps:  Worried about the secret service breathing down your neck? On our campus, nestled atop a mountain in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, there are plenty of places the secret service can hang out and watch over you without getting in your way. Make sure they are good with stairs; we have 2,600 steps on the Lehigh campus. Don’t let that scare you; first-years leave campus in May in the best shape of their lives. Here are some tips on how to “Survive South Mountain.”
2. Connect with your professors: Classes at Lehigh aren’t so big that you’ll get lost in a sea of students. Professors are engaged with students and mentor them in and outside of the classroom. I’ve had professors drop off food at the student newspaper press room when they know we will have a long night. It’s not unusual to find yourself at a professor’s house for dinner continuing a discussion from class.
3. Not your typical dining hall: Lehigh Dining Services provides three residence dining facilities, various retail and café options spread throughout campus, as well as a food court in the University Center. Mom will be happy to know that full menus with nutritional data are all available through the Dining Services Web site. You can even use money loaded on your student ID to take advantage of the awesome downtown Bethlehem restaurants.
4. We beat Duke. : Our Athletic Department lists education as its first priority, and the schedules and academic services available for student-athletes reaffirm that. If you’re interested in pursuing tennis at the Division I level, it’s important that your academics are also prioritized. We also know your dad is a college basketball fan; he might be impressed to know that Lehigh beat Duke in 2012 in the first round of the NCAA playoffs, one of the biggest bracket busters of the year.
5. Musikfest > Lollapalooza: From attending Lollapalooza to rocking a Pro Era shirt, you’re clearly a big music fan. So maybe Musikfest isn’t as well-known as Lollapalooza, but over the past three decades the event has evolved into one of the largest and most diverse music festivals in the nation, with 500-plus shows on 14 stages over 10 days. Each year more than 900,000 people make their way to the Lehigh Valley and the festival, with their sights set on experiencing all the music, food and fun of this musical extravaganza. Year-round, Bethlehem has no shortage of top-name concerts that you can attend.
6. Flexible academic opportunities: Your dad has said that you may want to pursue film-making; there are many opportunities to explore film-making at Lehigh. Journalism majors get first-hand experience editing with Final Cut Pro and with Lehigh’s emphasis on interdisciplinary work and hands-on experience, you could gain film experience through a self-driven Mountaintop project.  Or, if you decide to study something else entirely, like engineering (we’re known for that), Lehigh makes it easy to combine academic interests into an interdisciplinary or dual degree program.
7. Not too close: While you’ll only be in college for a few months before your dad leaves office, Lehigh is a good distance from both Washington, D.C. and Chicago (if your family moves back there). While you will have access to an airplane to take you home whenever you want (the Lehigh Valley airport is right down the road), Lehigh University is the perfect distance to be close to your parents without being too close…
Wherever you choose to go, your peers at Lehigh University wish you lots of luck.
All the best,
Kerry Mallett
Lehigh University, Class of 2015​
posted on behalf of student request
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