The Lee A. Iacocca Institute Endowment Fund will be established as a matching gift of $4 million. An additional $1 million match will support Lehigh’s overall global initiatives. Ultimately, when the match is fully realized, the Iacocca Institute will benefit from philanthropic investments totaling $8 million, while the university’s global initiatives will receive $2 million. 

“This generous gift will continue the Iacocca Institute’s unparalleled successes in training the global leaders of the future and further the tremendous legacy of the late Lee Iacocca ’45 and his vision of international educational leadership,” said Lehigh President John D. Simon ’19P.

That, according to Iacocca’s daughter and president of the Iacocca Family Foundation, Kathryn Iacocca Hentz, is exactly what her father would have wanted. “He felt it was important to get people together, to have them communicate and work together, because that’s how you understand someone else’s culture. Our board is very excited about this, and we believe it will, over time, make a real difference to everyone who comes through the door at Lehigh—and then the world they go out into.”

Lehigh was of lifelong importance to Lido “Lee” Iacocca ’45, a dedicated philanthropist, visionary automaker and influential business leader who was considered one of the greatest CEOs of all time. The Allentown native graduated in 1945 with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering.

Iacocca was president of Ford Motor Company, where he was the driving force behind the Mustang in the mid-1960s. He then became chairman and CEO of Chrysler Corporation, and was responsible for the company’s turnaround from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. He retired in 1992.

He led the fundraising campaign to acquire the Mountaintop Campus from Bethlehem Steel while simultaneously starting the Iacocca Institute, originally dedicated to increasing the global competitiveness of American organizations before evolving to focus on challenging the next generation of young global leaders. In honor of his contributions, Lehigh established four Iacocca chairs in 1991, one in each of the colleges at the time, as well as the Iacocca Scholarship.

The Iacocca Institute leads innovative programs that combine immersion in an extremely diverse living community with learning experiences in leadership, entrepreneurship, and more. It provides year-round online and summer residential programs for adults and high school students from the United States and around the world.

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center.

Story by Cynthia Tintorri

Lee Iacocca '45 speaks with a participant in the Global Village.

Lee Iacocca '45 speaks with a participant in the Global Village.

Lee Iacocca with daughters, from left, Kathryn Iacocca Hentz and Lia Iacocca Assad

Lee Iacocca with daughters, from left, Kathryn Iacocca Hentz and Lia Iacocca Assad