Tuesday, May 21, 2013

City of Easton Honors Outgoing Lafayette College President

By Christina Georgiou

About 40 city and college officials, joined by a few members of the community, gathered at the Grand Eastonian's Gold Room Tuesday evening to honor outgoing Lafayette College president Daniel Weiss.

Weiss, who has led the College Hill academic institution for the past eight years, is credited with leading a push to establish a closer relationship between the Lafayette College and Easton communities.

Outgoing Lafayette College
president Daniel Weiss
watches the presentation
by the City of Easton
to honor him Monday
Both current Easton mayor Sal Panto and former Mayor Phil Mitman were on hand for the event, and thanked Weiss for the college's support of local initiatives, such as the Third Street improvement project and development of the Silk Mill rehabilitation project along North 13th Street, as well as the institution's backing of the Easton Ambassadors.

Mitman said he clearly remembered when Weiss came to the city eight years ago, and suggested the Ambassadors program be started.

"It's an expensive program, but it's worth it," Mitman recalled Weiss saying.

"Your investment in the community is important, and we trust your successor will do the same," Mitman told Weiss.

Outgoing Lafayette College president Daniel Weiss watches
as a print of a painting depicting Easton's Centre Square
by local artist Preston Hindmarch is unveiled.

"The freshman handbook used to say, 'Do not go to Downtown Easton,'" Panto said. "We've come a long way since then. And it's not because Easton is a great city, but because Lafayette is a great college."

Panto also said he has faith the college will continue to cooperate with the city in community initiatives, but that he will miss Weiss.

"I know the trustees will continue the town-gown relationship, but I don't think your successsor will be able to fill your shoes," he said. "You're a true personality."

The mayor also issued a proclamation, naming Monday, May 20, 2013 "Daniel Weiss Day" in honor of the college president.

"I give a lot of proclamations, but I've only given this one seven times," Panto said of the naming of a day in honor of a specific person.

Weiss was also presented with a print of a watercolor painting by Easton artist Preston Hindmarch, which depicts Easton's Centre Square.

Weiss said he'll miss Easton and has immensely enjoyed the eight years he and his family spent in the city.

"I can't describe how much a part of Easton my family has felt," he said. "We were moved by this community right from the start. Partnering with the city was an obvious move from the start. I've worked with two mayors that were committed to the city and its wellbeing."

Weiss noted Lafayette College's long history, which spans nearly 200 years, and said the college plans to continue its academic tradition for "hundreds more". Working with the city should be part of the future too, he said.
"I don't think this is about a destination, but a journey we should travel together," Weiss said. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate your appreciation and support."

Weiss will step down as Lafayette College president after eight years of leadership with the end of this academic year. He is scheduled to take the reins of the presidency of Haverford College beginning July 1.

Alison Byerly
Photo courtesy of
Lafayette College
Alison Byerly will replace Weiss at Lafayette College, becoming the higher learning institution's 17th president and the first woman to lead the college.

Byerly comes to Lafayette from Middlebury College, where she's served in leadership roles  for the past 13 years, most recently as provost and executive vice president. She is credited in a media release issued by Lafayette as a "thought leader" on the role of technology in higher education, and has been a  visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Oxford University.

Byerly is set to take office at Lafayette on July 1.

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