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Contact: Communications & Public Affairs, communications@lehigh.edu

EASTON, PA. (April 1, 2018)—In a bold move that ends a centuries-old rivalry, the trustee boards of Lafayette College and Lehigh University have agreed to merge the two educational institutions.

Talks began following an off-handed comment at Yankee Stadium between trustees at the 150th meeting of the most-played football rivalry in the country. In various stages of development since that dominant Lafayette win, merger talks evolved more rapidly over the last year.

The synergy between two well-regarded schools makes this an exciting opportunity. Both share a ranked engineering curriculum, a strong liberal arts base, an athletic conference, and robust endowments.

Laf-High mascot

The boards have agreed that the new institution will be called Laf-High. The colors will be updated to new shades. Lafayette conceded its cherished maroon in order to get Lehigh to give up its dutiful brown. Laf-High will now don a more relatable, yet upscale red and khaki. The mascot, another hybrid, will be the mythical spotted griffin, combining the leopard’s majestic head and torso with a bird’s wings and feet.

“Lafayette is excited about what it can bring to this relationship and what it can receive in return,” says President Alison Byerly. She noted that because Lafayette is in the process of expanding its enrollment, running a shuttle between Easton and Bethlehem would allow Lafayette to take advantage of real estate there. One plan under consideration is razing the dilapidated Goodman Stadium in order to build new Lafayette residence halls on the site.

The Lafayette residential experience called Connected Communities will be extended into the new institution. As a part of Connected Communities, new first-year students are assigned to one of five Commons, each named after one of the Marquis de Lafayette’s ships. Lehigh students will draw from popular culture and history, with Commons named S.S. Minnow, Poseidon, and Titanic.

During due diligence, Laf-High will introduce colleagues to their departmental peers and begin to shape a new shared culture.

“We have history on our side and much to learn about local railroad operator Asa Packer and much to share about the American Revolution’s favorite fighting Frenchman,” says Byerly.

That history will come in handy as both presidents, who are eager to serve at the helm of Laf-High, have agreed to stage a duel to decide who will lead the new institution. Lehigh president John Simon will be armed with lumps of coal, while Byerly will wield the sword of the Marquis de Lafayette, currently used for ceremonial purposes at Convocation and Commencement. Oddsmakers are getting right to the point: The sword is a 9-1 favorite.

The long-standing Lafayette-Lehigh football game, the most-played football rivalry in the nation, will take place one last time next fall. No matter the victor, the record books will cement Lafayette with its current 78-70 winning record as the permanent champion. In the final game, the teams will play in their new matching uniforms, ensuring that both sides will look like winners despite the outcome of the game. Fans will be allowed to once again tear down the goal posts as they did decades ago.

“We need to begin to find ways to come together,” Byerly says. “It’s too bad that Lehigh will never be able to overcome its losing record in this long-standing contest.”

Categorized in: Featured News, News and Features

41 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Bennett says:

    As the parent of a newly accepted member of the class of 2022, and the wife of a Lehigh grad, I can say I am relieved at the prospect of peace in our time!

    Seriously impressive level of commitment on behalf of Lafayette. Happy April Fool’s!

  2. Brian Fink '91 says:

    I have to admit, I do like the combined mascot.

  3. Jim Flowers '69 says:

    Take your chemistry course on the Bethlehem campus from my cousin and ring bearer at my wedding in 1969, Bob Flowers.
    Jim Flowers Lafayette
    69 is Devine

  4. Julie Sielicki 1988 says:

    Great joke! Loved the preppie colors. Even in the joke, glad we great people had the sword and those lesser people had the coal.

  5. Harry Grey says:

    Well done and for those who thought this was a reality, well not sure what to say there.

    1. Jordan says:

      Those people who believed the story probably went to Lehigh…

    2. Robert J. G. Healey '71 (LafCol) says:

      Never got past the title and date line before being absolutely sure of the joke.

      The idea is not far fetched, though.

  6. Art Forrest says:

    The Marquis would have said, “Poisson d’Avril!!!!”

  7. Arthur Caldarola '79 says:

    You know we would never let that happen. This was very funny, and I am really gullible! (And Goodman Stadium does need to come down!)

  8. Rick Port ‘71 says:

    Ya got me for about 2 minutes – easily the best April Fool Joke I’ve seen

  9. Jim Mallay says:

    I was completely taken in until my wife reminded me of the date today. Someone had too much time on his/her hands to think this joke through.

  10. Harry Rosenberg "56" says:

    We “townies” will be sorry to lose the tradition and the pride that Lafayette students and Alums enjoyed. Perhaps it is an April fools gag!

  11. Fabienne Duré says:

    Has to be a joke!

  12. Steve Mazer says:

    OMG. Are there really people who are taking this April Fools joke for reality? Why, soon they’ll even believe that a reality TV buffoon could be president of the United States…!

  13. Ginny says:

    Perhaps this newly merged institution should be name Leyette with a mascot of “Locos” Happy April 1!

  14. Earl Dowell says:

    Hilarious, loved it…after I realized it was a joke!

  15. C Cathcart ‘67 says:

    Not stranger than fiction given the cost of education and the very real need to economize and strengthen.
    Look at Carnegie Mellon as a prototype of a successful union.

  16. Rich Cheney says:

    April Fools…Happy Easter…Happy Passover!!!

  17. APRIL FOOLS DAY! says:

    April fools day ya fools!

    Has to be cause neither institution has ever made a comment before today.

    But they should unite both schools for the benefit of all future students besides a lot of institutions all over are doing it or have done it!

    CUR-NON!! WHY NOT??!!

  18. Rose Butler says:

    Is this an April Fool’s joke. You got me!

  19. Chicago Mom says:

    Perfect piece for The Onion!

  20. Jeb Bell says:

    Always Lafinyet! Jeb Bell ’63

  21. Anthony Vecchio says:

    I hope this is an April Fool’s joke.

  22. Mike Rosenfelder says:

    How about Greta as the name for the spotted griffin?

  23. Diane Biolsi says:

    Funny!

  24. Janice says:

    Very funny!

  25. joseph guffanti says:

    Living in this Age of Insanity , there are people who might actually conjure up such a scheme. It’s impossible to separate fiction from reality these days..

  26. Nancy Freeborne-Brinton, '83 says:

    Loved the April Fools joke!

  27. Richard Sappelli says:

    I think somebody had too much of that craft Bear Wiz Beer made with spring water.

  28. Randy says:

    Joke right?

  29. David Kelly says:

    Awful. Very bad decision. There goes all of the tradition down the drain.

  30. Cinderella says:

    APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!! Hahahaha

  31. Karen Edwards says:

    I’m thinking April Fool’s joke

  32. Rise Butler says:

    This is a shame really!!

  33. John Hossenlopp ‘61 says:

    It is April 1. Have we been fooled?

  34. Lorenzo Traldi says:

    The spotted griffin is brilliant. Let’s make this happen!

    1. Robert C says:

      April Fool?

    2. MPR says:

      Agree. Love that mascot.

  35. Nelda Barron says:

    April Fools!!!

    1. Dick Baskwill says:

      By far the most clever April Fool’s joke I’ve seen! Love the part about converting Goodman Stadium to Lafayette dorms!

    2. MPR says:

      Hilarious.

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