Gregory C. Farrington was selected the 12th president of Lehigh University in May 1998. Prior to his Lehigh appointment, he had been Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he was also the Director of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter. Throughout his academic career, he has proven to be an innovative leader with a strong focus on the needs of students and a vision for meeting the challenges of higher education in the new millennium.

Enhancing Lehigh

At Lehigh, Farrington championed breaking down disciplinary walls and developing creative uses of information technology to improve student learning. In addition, under his leadership, a $75-million academic venture fund was developed to encourage faculty collaboration in creating innovative academic programs that go beyond traditional boundaries, while still meeting the central challenge of educating well-rounded citizens. During his tenure, Lehigh saw an increase in admissions, a rise in the US News rankings, an increase in alumni giving, and 40 renovation and renewal projects. New research programs were implemented ranging from biotechnology to supply chain logistics. More than twelve new undergraduate programs were instituted including Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE), ArtsLehigh, and Global Citizenship. Over his eight-year tenure, research funding doubled.

Community Relations

He has been an effective partner with the city of Bethlehem, the state and federal government, industry and other partners to make the city and region a better place to live, work and learn, while strengthening the university and spurring regional economic development. He was on the board of trustees at St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network and was also a trustee for the National Museum of Industrial History. Farrington was named by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to the state's transition team for the Department of Community and Economic Development in January of 2003. After his tenure as president, Farrington became a Distinguished University Service Professor at Lehigh and moved with his wife, Jean, to London to oversee the global program based there.On February 26, 2007, Farrington began a new appointment as the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences and resides in San Francisco.


Farrington received his bachelors' degree in chemistry from Clarkson University and his Ph.D. in electrochemistry from Harvard University in 1972. In 1984 he received an honorary Ph.D. from the School of Science at the University of Uppsala in Uppsala, Sweden. He holds more than two dozen patents and has written several books and more than one hundred technical papers. Before joining the Materials Science and Engineering faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, Farrington began his career working for General Electric in 1972 as a staff scientist in G.E.'s Corporate Research and Development Center.

Bronxville, NY
Notable Achievement: 
Distinguished scientist and 12th President of Lehigh University