John F. Lehman ’64 to Receive TEC5 George J. Beichl ’39 Patriotism Award

Distinguished veteran and alumnus will deliver keynote at Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart Banquet and Graduation on Oct. 21

Monday, September 25, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (Sept., 25, 2017) — The second phase of SJU’s Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart (VEJ) Cohort III program, which seeks to provide veterans with the education and resources they need to start their own businesses, will be held on campus from Oct. 14 - 22. On Saturday, Oct. 21, John F. Lehman, Ph.D., ’64, former secretary of the U.S. Navy, will offer the keynote address for the cohort’s banquet and graduation ceremony. Following his speech, Lehman will be presented with the TEC5 George J. Beichl, Ph.D. ’39 Patriotism Award.

“I am deeply honored to be nominated to receive the Beichl Award from Saint Joseph’s,” says Lehman. “While I did not take chemistry, I did know and revere George Beichl, a hero and role model for all St. Joe’s students and faculty. My own military career started at St. Joe’s in the USAF ROTC, and it was at St. Joe’s that mentors like political science professor Jim Dougherty ’50 and philosophy professor Ed Gannon, S.J., inspired my pursuit of public service. I look forward to returning to campus.”

The life of George J. Beichl, Ph.D. ’39 (1918-2015), Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, is one of service — to his country and to Saint Joseph’s. A chemistry major who graduated in 1939 and taught at Saint Joseph’s while working toward his doctorate, Beichl was drafted into the Army at age 26, in August 1944 during World War II — and was held as a prisoner of war (POW) for over a month before being rescued by American forces. After his honorable discharge from the service, Biechl was a faculty member and leader in the Saint Joseph’s chemistry department for over 50 years.

“The Beichl Award is our way of recognizing Saint Joseph’s alumni who have truly distinguished themselves as military leaders, American patriots and supporters of veterans programs.  Dr. Lehman is a most accomplished citizen and business leader, and we are proud to honor him with the Beichl award,” says Ralph Galati ’70 (USAF), director of veterans services at Saint Joseph’s. 

A Philadelphia native, Lehman is the third recipient of the award. He graduated from Saint Joseph’s College with a bachelor’s in international relations and would later earn a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. While in Cambridge, he served in the Air Force for three years until 1969, when he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve. Lehman rose quickly through the ranks, from ensign to commander, and during his time as Naval flight officer, he flew an A-6 Intruder as a bombardier and navigator.

Lehman was later appointed as U.S. secretary of the navy by President Ronald Reagan. He served from 1981-87, where he helped promote the development of a 600-ship Navy to stabilize any Soviet threat. After his 25 years in the Navy, Lehman was a member of the 9/11 Commission board. He is currently a member of the National Security Advisory Council for the Center for Security Policy and on the board of trustees for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Lehman is also a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, and serves as chair of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA.

He is founding partner and chairman of J.F. Lehman and Company, a private equity investment firm that focuses on defense, aerospace, and maritime industries and companies.

Lehman has written several books about the Navy and military defense, including On Seas of Glory, Command of the Seas, Making War, America the Vulnerable, and others.


About SJU’s Office of Veterans Services: The Saint Joseph's University Office of Veterans Services is committed to honoring those who have served our country by providing opportunities for education and career advancement. Veterans Services understands the unique needs of the veteran population and strives to create a welcoming environment for veterans and their families. The office, ranked No. 4 in the nation for U.S. News & World Report's best colleges for veterans. designs and implements customized education programs and ensures that veterans gain access to all eligible federal, state and local programs and services, and is committed to preparing veterans for personal excellence, professional success and engaged citizenship.


Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Director of Communications,, 610-660-3240


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic University that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective. This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni — over 68,000 strong — provide a powerful network that spans the globe.

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