Decoding the Myths of Asa Packer, 1805?-1879

Coppee Hall

Coppee Hall was named for the first president, Henry Coppee, who was a guiding force the early years of Lehigh University.  It first housed the gymnasium (see third picture) and is now home to the Weinstock Center for Journalism and Communication.

Bishop Stevens and the Board of Trustees had specific and high expectations for the first president of their university:

"The general plan of studies having been adopted, it was deemed best, even before we laid a stone of our proposed building, to go so far as to select a President, who, in conjunction with the trustees, should from the beginning give to it its sole and undivided care, his special and continuous oversight and guidance.  In selecting a President it was felt that he should be a man who could, if possible, represent the two systems combined in our proposed course of instruction, viz: the classical and the scientific.  That he should be a man who had been educated in college, and also in some great scientific school.  That he should be a man who would be able to give a practical and intellectual oversight of every branch of university study.  That he should be a man of ripe general scholarship, of mature mind, of educational experience, of administrative power, and in full report with the newly developing systems for the enlargement of our scholastic course, and the new methods of scientific culture." - Bishop Stevens, The Lehigh University, Its Origins and Aims

Three years later, Stevens spoke proudly of the Board's choice of Coppee and said, "I but made in rough outline the clay model; he has transformed it into durable form and feature, and as his hands and mind have fashioned it so will it long remain the monument of his administrative skill and educational sagacity."

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