Renovations to the iconic Clayton University Center (UC) at Packer Hall will create a dynamic environment for student life while preserving the building’s historic grandeur. Thank you to all the generous donors who are helping to make the Clayton UC a vibrant space for everyone in the Lehigh community.

Hal ’02 and Erin ’02 Rechler began their Lehigh story during freshman year in the corridors of Richards House. They made a connection through a shared love of Broadway. But it was their involvement in Greek life that inspired them to make a generous gift recently for renovations of the UC.

Fueled by their support, the updated building will strengthen the student experience by providing a welcoming place for all students to eat, learn, collaborate, and make friends. To recognize the Rechlers’ generosity, a plaque will be placed outside the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) on the lower level of the UC.

Broadway and Greek Life
“Hal was playing show tunes in his room one day, and I followed the music and ended up listening with him,” Erin says of their first meeting. The two became close during Greek rush, with Hal pledging Sigma Alpha Mu and Erin choosing Kappa Alpha Theta. And although they were frequently together at Greek events, they didn’t officially date until sophomore year.

“Even then it was on and off,” Hal says. “We were more friends than anything else at Lehigh. I still tell people that I’m happy I married my best friend.”

After graduation — Hal with a dual major in economics and religion studies, and Erin majoring in biochemistry — Hal went off to law school at Tulane while Erin started a job in New Jersey and earned her MBA at Rutgers. Despite their busy lives and the geographical separation, the couple’s friendship endured. It wasn’t until Hal’s third year of law school that the friendship turned into something more profound. The couple married in 2011 and happily added two children to their family a few years later.

Shared Philanthropy
Hal is now a principal for the We’re Group, a commercial real estate firm in Jericho, New York. After working for several years in the pharmaceutical industry, Erin runs her own photography business. The Rechlers’ journey as a couple has been intertwined with a shared commitment to giving back that has translated into an unwavering dedication to their alma mater. In fact, both Erin and Hal have been Lehigh donors every year since graduating.

“I was raised in a family whose philanthropy revolved around education,” Hal explains. “My grandfather religiously donated to every university that his children and grandchildren — even the in-laws — attended. So I grew up learning how important higher education is, and that’s always been a big part of Erin’s and my giving.”

Their gift for the UC holds special significance for Hal and Erin. Their contribution serves as a testament to the enduring impact of their Greek life experiences.

“When we were in school, it was the social foundation of Lehigh,” Hal says. “Our fraternity and sorority experiences were very much about community. I was an officer on the judicial affairs committee my senior year, so the recognition for the OFSL just struck a chord.”

“Hal and I really took our time because this wasn't the first naming opportunity that we’ve considered over the years,” Erin says. “This was kind of the right fit at the right time.”

Visions for a Better UC
The Rechlers both loved the UC as an iconic building on campus when they were students but admit they didn’t spend a great deal of time there. “It wasn’t used as much as Lehigh might have liked it to have been,” Erin says. “I hope the renovation will make the UC brighter, more open, and someplace that students can actually use.”

Hal’s vision for the UC includes better meal offerings. “Food is important to me, always has been,” he says. “I remember the meals at the UC when I was there needing some … let’s say jazzing up. I hope there will be more options that will provide students with a dining experience that allows them to get more joy out of a meal there.”

Erin and Hal Rechler at a Lehigh party

Great Lehigh Experiences
For Erin, one of the greatest assets of her Lehigh experience is the close-knit group of friends the couple still has to this day. “I also found that being in the arts and sciences, I had great flexibility. I went to Lehigh thinking I’d be pre-med, but when that changed, my advisers helped me choose a major that allowed me to stay on track and remain in the sciences that I loved,” she says.

Lehigh also made an impact on Hal's career. “The combination of learning economics and majoring in religion taught me how to write,” he says. “It shaped the way I practice law, with my head in both the arts and sciences and in business.”

“We both had preliminary opportunities to experience leadership roles at Lehigh,” Erin says. “It was a very well-rounded college experience.”

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