Forlenza Chair Prospectus

Founded in 1865, Lehigh University’s history is inherently linked to America’s rise as an industrial power. Lehigh’s founder, the industrial pioneer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Asa Packer, laid the foundation for a university that has since educated generations of students and served as a force of positive societal change. Lehigh University was born in post-Civil War America, a period when the United States was both rebuilding from the turmoil of the war and flexing its muscles as a new economic power. The growth of the period was driven in part by the dramatic increase in the utilization of iron and coal in industry, brought about by improved transportation on the nation’s waterways and railroads. Asa Packer, founder of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, was one of the men who both pushed along and benefited from the dynamics of the day, and by 1865, he had acquired both the vision and the financial clout to give back to the region that had helped him build a fortune. He donated $500,000 to create a new university to serve the “intellectual and moral improvement” of the young men of the Lehigh Valley. The new institution was called, simply, Lehigh University. In the century and a half that has passed since, Lehigh has evolved into one of the most highly regarded institutions of higher learning in the nation. Lehigh graduates have led both the Ford and Chrysler corporations, orchestrated the construction of the giant locks of the Panama Canal, and stood as leaders and innovators in the worlds of business, engineering, politics, the arts, education, space exploration, health and human services, and countless other fields. Today, Lehigh continues to educate thousands of young women and men who are drawn to South Mountain by the opportunity to learn at an internationally recognized research university, and to live and grow in a vibrant and engaging campus community. History 3