Gift from James Maida '85 and Sharon Maida will provide housing for expanded student body

Computer science and engineering alum James Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P and his wife, Sharon ’17P ’19P, have made a $5 million commitment to Lehigh's New Residential Houses.

“It is not about giving back to Lehigh. It is about giving it forward to the next generation of students,” said James, co-chair of GO: The Campaign for Lehigh and a Lehigh University Board of Trustees member who chairs the Development and Alumni Relations Committee. “I am reflecting on what others did before us and what we now have the obligation and honor to do.”

The Maidas are providing for future Lehigh scholars with a gift aimed to elevate the student living and learning experience. A dynamic new cluster of six residences are being built in two phases west of the Clayton University Center at Packer Hall. In recognition for their generosity, one of the three houses in Phase I will be named Maida House. Maida House, Hitch House, and a third residence hall not yet named will be available to students starting Fall 2020. Phase II is scheduled to open in Fall 2022.

“James and Sharon Maida are shining examples of those who uphold Lehigh in their life through their dedication and their actions. They not only provide for Lehigh personally, but James is a true advocate in inspiring others to do the same,” said President John D. Simon ’19P. “We thank them for answering the call to fulfill an important need on campus—to provide housing for an expanded student body.”

Increasing undergraduate enrollment by 1,000 during the next decade and providing the resources, support, and facilities students need to excel are top priorities defined by the university’s Path to Prominence plan. This vision for Lehigh’s future is being made possible by GO: The Campaign for Lehigh, the ambitious $1 billion-plus fundraising and engagement campaign that launched in October.

The idea of state-of-the-art student housing that nurtures a community spirit is exciting to the Maidas. Listening to the college experiences of their children, Alexis ’19, Lauren ’17, Lindsay, and Nicholas, they know that dorm life plays an important role in student success and is a place to launch from and return to.

Thrilled that Lehigh was the right choice for two of their children, James recalled his own experience as a CSE major and said that Lehigh taught him the problem-solving and real-life skills he needed to figure things out on his own. 

“That is the true value of a Lehigh education. Not the classes…not the major…but in every part of the university—engineering, business, arts and sciences, education, and soon health—you are taught how to solve problems that you have never seen before,” said James, who also earned a juris doctorate from Rutgers Law School in 1990.

James chose the university not because his father and brother attended before him, but because Lehigh technology was well ahead of the other schools that he visited, including Duke, Brown, and Cornell. He credits CSE professor and then department chair Edwin Kay as being a mentor who was his single biggest influence while at Lehigh and when he co-founded his business, Gaming Laboratories International, in 1987. The company now has more than 1,300 employees throughout six continents and provides a wide range of services to regulators, suppliers, and operators in the gaming industry.

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center.

Story by Dawn Thren ’21P

Sharon and James Maida

Sharon and James Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P are providing for a state-of-the-art community living environment with a $5 million gift commitment to Lehigh’s New Residential Houses. Photo by Robert J. Laramie Photography

Maida House

The Maida House (right) will offer three- and four-person semi-suites for 120 students, meeting rooms, a fitness studio open to the entire campus community, and private lounges for residents.