Swarthmore College graduate Eugene Lang, the investor and well-known philanthropist who once donated $50 million to his alma mater, has died at 98, writes Enid Nemy and Joseph Berger for The New York Times.
Lang entered Swarthmore at 15, majoring in economics, and started a business manufacturing pennants while still in school.
Throughout his lifetime, Lang donated more than $150 million to various charities and institutions. The Eugene M. Lang Foundation has supported 16,000 children nationwide, making Lang an American folk hero.
The self-made businessman is best remembered for his spur-of-the-moment decision during his speech to 61 sixth-graders in East Harlem, when he announced he would pay for their college education.
“I looked out at that audience of almost entirely black and Hispanic students, wondering what to say to them,” he said of that day, but “it dawned on me that the commencement banalities I planned were completely irrelevant.”
So he gave $2,000 to each of them for their college tuition, with more funds added for each year they remained in school.
Read more about Lang’s life in The New York Times by clicking here.