Vincent Forlenza appointed new Chairman of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees in ’75 – Natural Self Esteem

“I am honored to have served Lehigh and look forward to working with my colleagues as well as President Joe Helble and Lehigh’s leadership in this next phase of Lehigh’s future,” said Forlenza.

“Lehigh is an inspiring, resilient community,” he continued. “There are many achievements to look back on over the past decade that we will continue to build on. More recently, it is an indication of the talent and drive of our students, faculty, staff, community, and leaders that during the pandemic the University not only made strides towards its research and scholarship goals, but also made contributions that will be sustainable positive effect for years to come. The founding of a college dedicated to improving human health — during a pandemic, no less — is one such example.

“I am particularly honored to have succeeded my close colleague Kevin Clayton, who through his clear-eyed and passionate leadership has helped ensure that these advances are fully realized. I want to follow his example and bring the same level of commitment and collaboration to my work as Chair.”

Forlenza succeeds Kevin Clayton ’84 ’13P, who has served as chairman of the board since July 1, 2017 and whose dedicated service includes 22 years on the board and one year as Lehigh’s interim president in 2014-15.

“It has been a special honor and privilege to serve Lehigh over the years and to work with my fellow Board of Trustees to advance the university’s strategic goals and global reach,” said Clayton. “The great strides that Lehigh has made are in large part a testament to her unwavering dedication and leadership. I am also fortunate to have worked closely with many students, faculty and staff who are inspiring through their dedication and dedication and show daily what it means to be a part of the Lehigh community.

“I am confident that Vince’s strong leadership, vision, knowledge and love for Lehigh will continue to be a tremendous asset to the University,” Clayton continued. “His leadership as Chairman will no doubt lead our great university successfully into the future. Lehigh is in very capable hands with Vince and the entire board.”

Forlenza’s lead at Lehigh

Forlenza served as an appointed trustee on the board for two terms and, prior to his appointment as corporate trustee, served on the campus planning and operations committee and global affairs subcommittee, as well as the finance, management and academic affairs committee and compensation subcommittee.

A passionate supporter of Lehigh’s academic and research mission, Forlenza is an active member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Health and a past member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the PC Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. With his background as CEO of a global medical technology company, Forlenza provided strategic insights that were instrumental in shaping the formation of the College of Health early in the process and during its launch.

Forlenza and his wife, Ellen, are passionate supporters of research and educational innovation at Lehigh. In 2020, the Forlenzas established the Ellen and Vincent Forlenza ’75 Chair in Health Innovation and Technology Endowment Fund for Lehigh’s College of Health. The gift allows the college to recruit the best talent in a highly competitive market. The chair helped establish the College of Health’s Department of Health Innovation and Technology, where innovators will develop health applications leveraging artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and data science, and design cutting-edge technologies that address urgent public health needs.

In addition, the Forlenzas established the Ellen and Vincent A. Forlenza ’75 Endowment Fund for research, faculty, and programs within the Health and Healthcare Initiative at PC Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and helped build the STEPS facility. They are honored as part of Lehigh’s leadership societies: the Asa Packer Society, the Tower Society and the Leadership Plaza.

Forlenza earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1975 and a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. While at Lehigh, Forlenza was a member of the Newman Association, Delta Chi, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

A legendary career

Forlenza recently resigned as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), a global medical technology company headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, after serving as CEO. He led the company’s transformation from a medical supplies manufacturer to a top five medical device, diagnostics and life sciences company. Under Forlenza’s leadership, the market capitalization has more than tripled.

As CEO, Forlenza also led BD’s strategy to improve healthcare in countries with underdeveloped healthcare systems. As a leader in developing public-private partnerships, BD has partnered with PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and the Clinton Health Initiative to provide affordable HIV diagnostics and access to cervical cancer testing in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Other programs have included expanding immunization programs in developing countries with both the Gates Foundation and UNICEF and improving infection prevention in countries without effective systems. BD has been named to Fortune Magazine’s 50 Companies Changing the World list three times. During his nearly 40-year career at BD, Forlenza has held multiple leadership positions worldwide, in the United States and Europe, including Grenoble, France, leading strategic planning for BD Europe.

In addition, Forlenza served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed). In this role, he has been instrumental in driving the association’s innovation agenda, working with policymakers and industry partners to reinvigorate the innovation ecosystem and promote the value of medical technology in extending and improving the lives of patients.

Forlenza currently serves on the Board of Directors of Moody’s Corporation as Lead Director and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee. He is also Chairman of The Valley Health Systems Board of Trustees.

Actively involved in autism awareness and advocacy, Forlenza and his wife help found the Quest Autism Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit dedicated to providing support and services to adults with autism. Throughout his career, Forlenza has served as an advocate for hiring and supporting individuals with autism in the workplace and is currently working with the College of Education to further develop these connections at Lehigh. He is also a board member of Marabio, a start-up developing a test to assess the risk of autism before pregnancy and provide early guidance on the need for developmental interventions and support for those with developmental delays.

The Forlenzas live in Franklin Lakes, NJ and have two daughters, Joy and Corie.

Clayton’s Legacy of Service

Clayton’s service to Lehigh was lifelong, being the son of a Lehigh graduate student, a member of the Class of 1984, and a Lehigh parent. During his 22-year tenure on the Board, Clayton has served as a Young Alumni Trustee, Appointed Trustee, Corporate Trustee, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. He served as Lehigh’s interim president for the 2014-2015 academic year. Clayton then returned to the Board of Trustees as Vice-Chair and was appointed Chair in April 2017.

Clayton’s tenure as Chairman of the Board was marked by numerous notable advances and innovations, including the establishment of the College of Health, expanded recruitment of diverse undergraduate and graduate students and faculty, and investments in infrastructure and programs throughout the university to enhance overall academic, research – and student experience, including the construction of new residential and academic facilities. During his tenure as Trustee, he has served on all committees, including the Nominations and Trustees Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, the Campus Planning and Operations Committee (as Chair and Vice Chair), and the Finance Committee , the investment subcommittee, external engagement committee and the Compensation Subcommittee. He was also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Business.

As chair, Clayton oversaw the launch of the university’s Path to Prominence plan and the $1 billion+ fundraiser, GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. Most recently, he has successfully guided Lehigh through the toughest times of the pandemic.

In 2020, Clayton commissioned a Presidential Search Committee, co-chaired by Maria L. Chrin ’87 ’10P and Philip B. Sheibley ’81 ’19P, to search for the 15th President of Lehigh.

Clayton and his wife Lisa have established and funded programs across the university over the years, including a $20 million gift to revitalize Lehigh’s iconic University Center, a project designed to preserve the building’s historic character and while creating a dynamic, modern building – the artistic environment for student life. The renovation will impact the entire university community and future generations of students, faculty and staff.

Lisa and Kevin also endowed the Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P and Lisa A. Clayton ’13P Deanship for the College of Business, a strategic endowment designed to bring Lehigh excellence leadership to propel the college and university forward. This position will be held by Georgette Chapman Phillips, an internationally renowned scholar who came to Lehigh in 2014 from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

In honor of Kevin’s parents, Lisa and Kevin established the William L. and Carol L. Clayton Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2003. In 2008 they established the Kevin L. Clayton ’84 and Lisa A. Clayton Endowed Scholarship Fund. Since their inception, these two scholarships have benefited numerous students over the years.

Her generosity also includes support for the Annual Fund, the Athletics Partnership Program, program initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Dean of the College of Business’s Strategic Initiatives Fund. They have long been recognized as part of the Asa Packer Society and the Tower Society. In 2012, their names were engraved in the Leadership Plaza outside of the Alumni Memorial Building in recognition of their philanthropy and commitment to Lehigh.

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