Eugene M. Lang '38, Founder
In February 2011, Eugene M. Lang ['38]'s philanthropy and legacy to Swarthmore were celebrated on campus - fittingly, in the Eugene and Theresa Lang Performing Arts Center. The celebration included a symposium addressing social responsibility in the 21st century and artists as agents of social change. Here below, Lang reflects on his experiences at Swarthmore and the importance of liberal arts education.
Founder of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Eugene Lang '38 (center) has a long history of philanthropic involvement with Swarthmore. In addition to the Center, his gifts to the College include the Lang Music Building, the Eugene and Theresa Lang Performing Arts Center, endowed professorships, support for faculty research and student financial aid, the Lang Summer Social Action Awards, and the Lang Opportunity Scholars Program, which provides funds for students to design and carry out innovative service projects. He is also the founder of Project Pericles, a national organization of colleges and universities working to encourage and facilitate inclusion of education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs. On September 22, 2008, Mr. Lang was named "Joseph H. Kanter Citizen of The Year" by the National Conference on Citizenship, a leading advocate of civic engagement. The press release.
"A Masterless Man"
In fall 2011, Aliya Padamsee '14 interviewed Mr. Lang. She recounds, "Urged to read from a young age, Lang says, "I was enthralled by Thorstein Veblen's ‘masterless man.’ I wanted to be a ‘masterless man.’" Veblen was an American economist and sociologist whose "masterless men" constituted a nascent middle class who rejected the grip of feudal control and inaugurated an onrush of freedom and technological progress. Combining Veblen's and his father's philosophies, Lang was instilled with a deep sense of how individuals could make an impact in unconventional ways..." Access the full article here [pdf].