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April 2008

Fudging the Graduation Numbers

In its April 28th edition, the Washington Post has an article about "a Bush administration proposal [that would] require that all states use the same formula to calculate high school graduation rates." The goal is to have a better idea of the drop-out problem in American high schools. The article mentions that states, among other things, would be required to "post the performance of students on national reading and math tests alongside state test scores, which would give parents a sense of the rigor of state assessments" - certainly a step in the right direction. If you've been reading this blog for a while, or only since Sunday, you know I like to keep track of the ways quantitative-minded people can manipulate numbers by picking the model that fits their conclusions (until everyone is quantitative-minded enough to fight back). This all begged the question: how exactly do the states fudge their numbers?

The Washington Post article remained vague about that point, but the Internet is a wonderful thing, and states' practices when it comes to computing graduation rates are available for all to read in this December 2003 report by The Education Trust ("Telling the Whole Truth (or Not) About High School Graduation") with a June 2005 update, entitled "Getting Honest About Grad Rates: How States Play the Numbers and Students Lose". From the June 2005 document: "Of the states that did provide graduation-rate information, most reported rates that look dubiously high when compared to the results of multiple independent analyses of state graduation rates." This article on Stateline.org summarizes the key points. An excerpt: "New Mexico, for example, reported to DOE a graduation rate of almost 90 percent, one of the nation's highest. However, the state does not track the percentage of freshman who graduate, only seniors. This ignores students who dropped out in the 9th, 10th and 11th grades." Of course, state education officials blame the ridiculously high statistics on their inability to collect more accurate data - let's fault the information systems. This is the same reason invoked by officials in Massachusetts to explain why the state does not keep track of graduation rates at all. Come on, how difficult can this be?

People have fudged statistics for years - when I prepared for the entrance examinations for the "grandes ecoles" (engineering schools) in France, the preparation lasted for two years (like freshman and sophomore year in college), and started with a common year for everybody, after which administrators assigned students to different sections depending on performance. It was common practice for the administrators to put weak students, likely to perform poorly on the exams, into the worst section (called P for physics, as opposed to P' for a-lot-of-physics [don't ask how people came up with such names! they vaguely reflect course content and students get different exams in the end depending on the track they were in: math or physics], M for math and M' for a-lot-of-math; ranking in terms of prestige was M'-P'-M-P), and it just so happened that the Parisian schools with the highest admission rates to the "grandes ecoles" had no P section, so that these weak students had to switch schools between their first and second year and become somebody else's problem before they were counted in the admission statistics.

To go back to high school graduation rates, Education Week computes the national average for public school districts is 69.6 percent (rather than the reported average of 83 percent quoted in the Stateline.org article), using something called the Cumulative Promotion Index, which "
estimates the probability that a student in the 9th grade will complete high school on time with a regular diploma." States that reported realistic graduation rates in 2005 (Alaska and Washington, with 67 and 66 percent, respectively - from Stateline.org) were initially criticized for their low numbers, until attention was drawn to the fudging tactics of their counterparts. From the 2003 report (page 4), the worst cheater is North Carolina, with a 29% difference between publicized and independently estimated graduation rate. The 2005 has similar numbers, with North Carolina still leading the pack. Table 1 (page 3) in the 2005 report lists 34 states with graduation-rate targets lower than their publicized numbers (drum roll, please! they are doing so well).

I was about to reach the end of the report, surprised that statisticians had stuck to one performance measure for once, when I stumbled on the competitor of the CPI: the Promoting Power Index, due to researchers at John Hopkins University. That index compares the number of students enrolled in 12th grade with those enrolled in 9th grade, the idea being that if students stayed in high school for four years already, they're not going to give up when the end is in sight. I might have joked about every researcher's need to devise his own measure of this or that, until I read that "nationally, more than 2,000 high schools - 18 percent of all high schools - have a Promoting Power Index of less than 60 percent." While state officials are cooking up the numbers and pretending all is well, the dropout problem isn't going away any time soon.


Are We There Yet?

The April 19th issue of The Economist has a fascinating article about the latest high in oil prices, or rather, about conflicting ways of comparing past and present values of a barrel. In nominal value, the latest high was reached on April 16th with a price of $115.07, but the article points out: "By other measures, oil is not quite as expensive as it seems." These other measures are due to someone named Michael Lewis at Deutsche Bank. Here is a quick overview of the various prices he comes up with to translate the previous record, achieved in the early 1980s, into current-day terms:

  • accounting for inflation using America's producer-price index: $94 (we're way past that),
  • accounting for inflation using America's consumer-price index: $118 (exceeded a few days after April 16, I believe),
  • accounting for "the growth in Western consumers' incomes over the years": $134,
  • reaching the same "share of Americans' disposable income" as in 1980: $145,
  • reaching the same "share of global output [GDP]": $150.

In other words, you can reach the conclusion you want (we've reached a new high / we aren't there yet) just by picking your measure well. I wish the article had mentioned the average or median monthly gas bill of an American household as a fraction of their net income - of course maybe no economist is keeping track of that, but as more people in the highly populated California and New York areas are moving away from the city where they work so that their children can afford a higher quality of life, I can't imagine that the average distance in their commute has gone down. Nowadays, people also might use their cars more on highways, with a different gas consumption pattern than in cities. I would also be curious to read about the changes in gas consumption for SUVs. Finally, since more women are working outside the home than in the 1980s, more families might have two cars now. Tracking the price of a barrel, adjusted for inflation or not, says little about the impact on people's life - but it's unlikely any one measure (reflecting the technologies of the day) will be able to tell us much either. We still need people to pore over indicators and extract some meaning out of them, even if different people - or sometimes the same person - may reach different conclusions from the same data. Economists have busy days ahead.


The Trouble With Physics

Believe it or not, but I've been reading a book on theoretical physics. Yes, really. (You know how there are "cat" people and "dog" people? Well, there are "math" engineers and "physics" engineers. I am a math one. And a dog person. So reading physics amounts to going to the dark side.) It's called "The Trouble with Physics", and it's a fascinating read. It describes, as mentioned in the subtitle, "the rise of string theory, the fall of a science, and what comes next." The reason I find the book fascinating is because the author, Dr. Lee Smolin, who has worked on string theory but has become mildly critical of it, narrates how a mathematical theory who seems deeply flawed and can neither be proved nor disproved in experiments (and won't be in the foreseeable future) has come to sweep the field of theoretical physics, to the extent that young researchers now feel pressured to pursue that line of research, "because it is perceived as the ticket to a professorship at a university. And they are right: in the United States, theorists who pursue approaches to fundamental physics other than string theory have almost no career opportunities. In the last fifteen years, there have been a total of three assistant professors appointed to American universities who work on approaches to quantum gravity other than string theory, and these appointments were all to a single research group. Even as string theory struggles on the scientific side, it has triumphed within the academy." (p.xxii, paperback edition).

The issue, it seems, is that the mathematical theory is too mesmerizing for researchers to admit it leads to ridiculous conclusions in practice. The basic idea appears vaguely reasonable at first: particles should not be viewed as points, but as rubber bands. (Since rubber band theory doesn't exactly sound "sexy", it got renamed string theory.) Alright, maybe at the microscopic level, particles could be string-like rather than point-like. I'll grant them that. Unfortunately, that opens the door to a variety of problems. "After a few years' work, it was found that string theory, as a fundamental theory, could be consistent with special relativity and quantum theory only if several conditions were satisfied. First, the world had to have twenty-five dimensions of space [rather than three]. Second, there had to be a tachyon - a particle that goes faster than light."(p.105) The author deadpans: "The world does not appear to have twenty-five dimensions of space. Why it is that the theory was not just abandoned then and there is one of the great mysteries of science." (ibid.)

Smolin acknowledges that this "reliance on extra dimensions deterred many people from taking string theory seriously before 1984" and that the "tachyons had never been seen; even worse, their presence signaled that the theory was unstable." (ibid.) But some researchers kept forging ahead, and found much of their motivation simply in the fact that the theory was just too "beautiful" to give up on. The word 'beautiful' comes up a lot to describe that framework. For instance: "One of the most beautiful features of the theory [is] a kind of unification of motion and forces." (p.107) Later the number of space dimensions required to make the theory work was reduced from twenty-five to nine, which I guess didn't sound too bad, and enthusiasm for string theory swelled when it was established the theory did not suffer from "a certain dangerous pathology afflicting many unified theories, called an anomaly." (p.114) I'm not going to get into the details of the theory and all the issues it has, but, as my last quote, the following paragraph on p.136 will give you an idea of how ridiculous this all has become (warning - put down that mug and swallow that sip of coffee before you read on): "Later that year, Witten gave the so-far-undefined theory a name. The act of naming it was brilliant: He called it simply M-theory. He didn't want to say what "M" stood for, because the theory did not yet exist. We were invited to fill in the rest of the name by inventing the theory itself." OH MY GOD. THESE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY. 

While the temptation of favoring beautiful theories for the sake of beauty has been pushed to the extreme in physics, it can be found in many other disciplines, including my own, operations research - academics have long had a weakness for elegant formulas and mathematical theorems. Since operations research models a lot of business problems involving customer behavior, it can be hard to formulate and test precisely assumptions regarding, say, people's price sensitivity. Fortunately, in contrast with theoretical physics, we do get access to real-life data, at least if we develop partnerships with industry sponsors - one of the reasons why the National Science Foundation has been pushing toward more collaborative efforts. I for one don't want to become embroiled in a "string theory"-like controversy, although the diversity in operations research applications would make it difficult to enforce conformity the way physics departments have done. At conferences, I have found it less usual (compared to, say, five years ago), at least in the well-attended sessions, to hear results sounding like (and of course this is a caricature): "if pigs could fly and we lived on Mars, this beautiful closed-form formula would hold," (emphasis on 'beautiful'), which might be the one advantage of the National Science Foundation's budget crunch. Universities' pressure on their faculty members to get publications, though, incites researchers to adopt similar frameworks to those already in print; one of the people who have authored that early framework will likely be a reviewer to the newly submitted paper; people often feel a change means their approach was inadequate and interpret this as a personal criticism, which they obviously do not greet with unbridled enthusiasm. But the wide array of problems we can work on guarantees we as engineers will never face a situation as dramatic as theoretical physics, and I am grateful for that.


The Final Stretch: Candidate's Day

Right now around the country, thousands of high school seniors are agonizing over their college choice. Many universities set their deadline to accept or reject offers to May 1, and last Saturday, Lehigh University held its annual Candidates' Day to help the undecided make up their mind. This year, 253 students and a total of 678 visitors showed up to learn more about the College of Engineering (these numbers do not include the other colleges at Lehigh - Business & Economics, Arts & Sciences, and Computer Science & Engineering, which for some reason is a college by itself; Education is a graduate-only college).

I served as a tour guide for the second (late) tour of our department; the earlier tour was led by my colleague Mikell Groover. There were two scheduled tours of each department because of the large number of registrants to Candidates' Day, but we did not know how many people were interested in visiting each specific department - we (the faculty guides and the student guides accompanying us) were given color-coded cards, and we lined up the back of Packard Auditorium after the general presentation of the first year at Lehigh and in particular of the Introduction to Engineering course (where the students do hands-on projects to discover what type of engineering they are most interested in before they declare a major.) Then the Dean called the various departments one by one, the faculty guides raised their cards, and the people in the audience who had the same color-coded cards got up and went with them.

I am sure you can imagine the hordes of parents and high school seniors leaving their seats at the simple mention of "mechanical engineering" or "chemical engineering", and the rest of the faculty members wondering if anyone likes their department. One of the industrial engineering students I was with picked this time to inform me that he had helped for Candidates' Day the previous year, and only one family had gone on the industrial engineering tour back then. One. (Thank you, James.) Fortunately, this year the tour attracted about fifteen people, approximately the same as the earlier tour, and we had a good time. But it is true that few high school seniors understand what industrial engineering is about, and the handful who think they do probably have a distorted idea of it, because it bears little resemblance with what their parents or relatives called industrial engineering when they were in school decades ago - industrial engineering isn't about manufacturing any more (which, given the state of manufacturing in this country, counts as a good thing); instead, it has evolved towards information management and operations research - the ability to design mathematical models and analyze data to help managers make better decisions. Renaming IE departments in the country "information engineering" departments might give a more accurate idea of what their people actually do (see this old post of mine on the topic, or - even better - drop by Cornell's ORIE website and enjoy the department's name change).

Luckily, by the time most first-year students declare a major, they have talked to their friends and taken the intro to engineering course, and we get a lot of students interested in what they describe as "the most business-oriented engineering major" - so much of what our students end up doing, in their courses and after graduation, is about quantitative models of decision-making (determining the appropriate inventory policy, the best route for the company's delivery trucks, and so on). Of course that does not replace a solid business education, which is why many of our students also enroll in the business minor, but having the ability to make sense of large amounts of data is definitely an advantage for IE students when they pursue, for instance, consulting careers. When you're an engineer by training, it is hard to believe there are people in executive positions at top companies who do not understand concepts as simple as probabilities and randomness. (I know for having been the Teaching Assistant in the quantitative models course for MBA students at MIT.) Career Services compiles every year a report about the employment profile of the most recently graduated class, and the top employers over the last decade (PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst&Young, KPMG, Accenture, IBM, Lockheed Martin) are companies that hire every year several graduates of our IE (industrial engineering) or ISE (informations and systems engineering) programs, so we must be doing something right.

Lehigh has been very dynamic in trying to extend its visibility beyond the Northeast; the university now attracts many students from California, for instance, and has students from every state in the United States and 48 countries in the Class of 2011. Obviously, since 69% of the current first-year students originate from NY/NJ/PA, we have not yet reached the level of diversification we are hoping for, but things have been moving at a brisk pace, with every entering class bringing more residents from far-away states. There is a good summary page on the statistics regarding that class here, which also gives an idea of Lehigh students' academic performance in high school. A lot of exciting initiatives have been developed recently, from the integrated degree in engineering, arts and science (IDEAS) to the introduction of a mandatory international experience by 2013 (which is just one component of the Global Lehigh program), and I wouldn't be surprised if, in ten years, alumni look back on their Lehigh degree and realize its value has multiplied, in the same way that alumni now chuckle when they mention they don't know if they would be accepted again if they applied with the incoming class. I think what makes Lehigh unique is its genuine dual commitment to both research and teaching, which comes from its history as a teaching institution turned research powerhouse - many research universities say they are committed to education, but have introductory courses taught by adjuncts or graduate students. Lehigh's rate of adjunct faculty is a third of the average for its peer group, and this is the only place that asked me to give a teaching seminar, as well as a research one, when I interviewed. (And yes, students rated me, and their evaluations were taken into account when the department decided who Lehigh should make an offer to.) Graduates' support of Lehigh is reflected in the very high rate of alumni giving - we're 32nd in the 2008 Best College Rankings, but we used to be 13th in alumni giving, and as I was checking the stats for this post, I realized that we're now 8th in alumni giving. Eighth! So I guess the students who come do love this place, and become successful enough - and grateful enough - to spend money on charitable contributions. Not a bad outcome for a little Pennsylvania school.


Google's Revenue Management Strategy

The April 5th issue of The Economist had an article on Google ("The Case of the Missing Clicks") with the following subtitle: "What does it mean when people click on Google's ads less often?" This turns out to be a great real-life example of how a decrease in demand can increase revenue. For this to happen, of course, the demand decrease needs to happen because of a re-focus on a core segment of the market, representing customers willing to pay higher prices. Many laypeople don't understand that point, and confuse demand with revenue, forgetting about the higher price. In The Economist's words: "The scare started when comScore, a research firm, reported in late February that Google's paid clicks had decreased by 7% during January, and were flat compared with the same month a year earlier." It even emerged that "Google's market share of searches also continues to grow; this means that the ratio of paid clicks to searches dropped even faster than the number of paid clicks."

Does this spell doom for Google? Not at all. Later in the article, we learn that Google now "offers fewer ads on each results page, and often none at all. [... It] seems to be trying harder to weed out those advertisers who bid low in the auctions it conducts for advertising slots linked to particular keywords." The idea is that the search results pages will be less cluttered, with only the most relevant links remaining, and customers have "fewer ads to click on", but advertisers are willing to bid much higher for a spot on the web page, and hopefully more customers will make a purchase on the advertiser's website. If Google's reasoning is correct, comments the article's author, "that in turn might mean that aggregate revenue growth for Google could still be healthy." Might, could - not words inspiring a resounding confidence in the approach.

But it turns out this was the correct interpretation. Yesterday April 17, Google reported on its first quarter. The Washington Post summarized the results as follows: "Google profit jumps 30% despite slowing economy", with the subtitle: "Company credits overseas growth, better ad delivery." The article touches upon the scare generated by comScore's analysis earlier this year. It does not explain, though, how comScore could announce a 2% increase in paid clicks in a year-over-year comparison and Google a 20% increase, and it does not get into the details of the new revenue strategy. I assume the journalist referred to paid clicks when he meant volume of web searches or revenue per paid click, or something along those lines, because the 20% growth in paid clicks contradicts everything else, and isn't even supported by the quotes of Google employees in the article, such as: "'We're showing fewer but better ads in each cycle', [Chief Executive Eric] Schmidt said." The bottom line? "Revenue rose 42 percent, to $5.19 billion." Not bad for a company that, two weeks ago, was supposed to have its best days behind it.


MIT Conference Announcement

Today April 18 is the deadline for early registration to the "Operations Research and the Internet" conference held at MIT on May 29-30. This is the second annual operations research conference at MIT; last year's event, on operations research and health care, was very well-attended. The conference is chaired by my former PhD advisor; hence the plug. You can read more about this year's program and speakers at: http://web.mit.edu/orc/www/conferences/Conference08/index.html


Undergraduate Research Symposium

My students, Christopher Barrett and Victoria Berenholz, have won third place out of eleven in the Undergraduate Research Symposium held at Lehigh yesterday afternoon. Congratulations! I am so happy for them. They did outstanding work in their independent-studies project on portfolio management with downside risk measures, which I supervised last Fall. Chris is an Informations and Systems Engineering senior and Victoria is an Industrial Engineering senior.

The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium showcases research projects performed by undergraduates in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and has been endowed by a generous gift from alumnus and Engineering Advisory Board member Drew Freed. (Money goes toward travel and fees for future professional conferences.) This is a great way to introduce undergraduates to research, and as college students tend to be mostly American or permanent residents, this also helps getting the latter interested in engineering research - maybe some of them will consider applying to graduate school down the road.

There were eleven projects this year, involving thirteen students; participation is by faculty nomination only and already represents a great honor. The students make a fifteen-minute-long presentation of their work in front of faculty members and fellow students. The projects were all of extremely high quality. Here is the complete list:

  • Chris Barrett and Victoria Berenholz, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Portfolio Management with Downside Risk Measures.
  • David Sondak, Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Tokamak Plasma Equilibrium Controllability Limitations due to Delays.
  • Sean Kessler, Chemical Engineering, Morphology and Controlled Release from Polymeric Drug Delivery Devices.
  • David Browne, Materials Science and Engineering, Sol Gel Synthesis and Conversion of Spinel Thin Films.
  • Semih Demirbag and Joe Siefers, Computer Science and Engineering, Security Issues of a First Generation DRE Voting Machine.
  • Laura Ricles, Bioengineering, Accuracy of Cell Machanical Measurements: A Computational Study.
  • Jeremy Kress, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Characterization of Particulates System with Emphasis on Geo-Behavior.
  • Jake Natalini, Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Aerosol Particle Transport Dynamics in the Pulmonary Alveoli.
  • Philip Bresnahan, Chemical Engineering, Small-Scale Toxic Metal Detection.
  • Greg Brentrup, Materials Science and Engineering, Development of Novel Nano-Macro Porous Bioactive Glasses for Bone Scaffolds.
  • Tom Miller, Computer Science and Engineering, The Sick LIDAR Matlab/C++ Toolbox.

Congratulations to all!


We've got a new department chair!

We in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering are pleased to announce that Tamas Terlaky will be joining Lehigh University in August as our new department chair. Tamas, currently at McMaster University in Ontario and originally from Hungary, holds the Canada Research chair in Optimization and is the director of the McMaster School of Computational Engineering and Science. In 2006 he was named Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Dean's press release says it best: "Tamás Terlaky is a world-renowned scholar who has made critical contributions to key fields in operations research and systems engineering, including computational optimization, interior point methods of mathematical programming, continuous optimization, and high-performance computing. He has published more than 120 refereed journal papers, four books, and eight edited volumes and special issues. He is recognized as an academic leader not only in North America, but also in Europe and Asia."

We're also thrilled to have Pietro Belotti, currently a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, join us as a Visiting Assistant Professor. Pietro's research focuses on mixed-integer nonlinear programming and multi-commodity network design. And let's not forget Jitamitra (Jita) Desai, who joined the department last Fall from the University of Arizona as a Visiting Assistant Professor; his research is on global optimization and nonconvex analysis. Those are very exciting developments for the department!


Between Bitter and Better: the Bethlehem Story

So Pennsylvania has been a tiny bit in the news over the last few days. It started before Senator Obama's comments on Pennsylvanians being bitter and clinging to guns and religion as a result; in its April 12th issue, The Economist published an article on PA as the lead article in the US section. (An excerpt: "James Carville famously described the state as 'Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama stuffed between them'." Guess why the western part of the state is nicknamed "Pennsyltucky"? According to The Economist, the "state has a high proportion of people over 65, [...] higher than any state except Florida and West Virginia, and it has a low proportion of people with college degrees.")

The remarks about "clinging" were ill-advised - if you live in an isolated area, why wouldn't you try to protect yourself from someone breaking in? if you live in the woods, why wouldn't you want to go hunting? I don't like hunting, but it's as much a right as anything else and, while I'm not an avid church-going person, studies suggest religious people are happier than more secular ones because they have a deeper sense of purpose in life. The sad truth, however, is that some long-time Pennsylvanians (emphasis on: some) are indeed really very bitter. One thing that surprised me following the disclosure of Obama's remarks was people's willingness to admit it. It took me a little less than 3 years living in PA to witness that bitterness first-hand, because the countryside is beautiful and it's easy to overlook some of the people who live here, but in hindsight it seems obvious. What took me so long?

Bethlehem, population 73,000, is located right off Route 78, and over the last few years it has become an exburb of New York City, full of mansions as well as shacks (just not in the same neighborhoods). It has a large concentration of universities, a fifteen-gate airport with almost no line at security, and great transportation by road and bus to New York City (1 1/2 hour east) and Philadelphia (1 hour south). But it was also the home of now-defunct Bethlehem Steel, and many jobless people who've lost their livelihood envy the carefree college students with a future in front of them. As a matter of fact, the working-class people I talk to who are content with their life all share one thing in common: they all have children on their way to four-year colleges. They'll put up with a lot as long as they can hope their children will have a good life. The others mug Lehigh students because they're supposed to be rich, and quite frankly, the fact that parents are sending their kids to college doesn't mean that they're wallowing in money. Ever heard of student loans? But that's a whole different world around here. The South Side is not a place you want to walk around at night.

On the other hand, Bethlehem was recently named "58th best city in the country to live and launch" by Money Magazine, and even appeared in the 88th spot of the 2006 rankings of the best US cities to live in, courtesy of its gorgeous historic district, aka the North Side, on the other bank of the Lehigh river. (Bethlehem was not in the top 100 in 2007, but we'll be back.) It is also featured in an article about some of the cities in the "live and launch" rankings entitled "Back from the dead". What's fascinating about Bethlehem is that its story follows an arc similar to that of Lehigh University - an average teaching university thirty years ago, which is turning into an academic powerhouse (the College of Engineering is ranked 31st in the 2008 Best Colleges Rankings and 42nd in the 2009 Best Graduate Schools Rankings by US News).

There are, of course, a lot of tensions in the area, with government officials and locals who are still used to the small-town "deep in the countryside" mindset and can't stand having the imports of New York and New Jersey create more traffic, nobodies who'll go to any length to feel powerful any chance they get (substitute bus drivers who lie under oath, so-called witnesses who meet in front of the courthouse before the hearing to set people up, female judges who scream no matter what because that's how they get their sense of worth; welcome to Pennsylvania everybody) - none of these are too intent on Bethlehem filling with educated professionals unimpressed by their ego trips, and the tug of war between modernity and nostalgia is fascinating to watch. It's not clear whether the city will turn into something else than cheap land for New Yorkers with top-notch entertainment for retirees (we're getting a casino) and great art because of all the musicians and painters who live around here, or if Lehigh University will leave its host town in the dust. But Lehigh University has always prided itself in being a family and taking its role in the neighborhood more seriously than many other institutions. If anything can drag Bethlehem out of bitterness, Lehigh will.