Lehigh University founder and benefactor Asa Packer, circa 1861.
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Asa Packer in 1860.

Credit: From A History of Lehigh Valley 1860;Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Canal Society Collection, Canal Museum, Easton, PA

The founder and chief benefactor of Lehigh University, Asa Packer personified the proverbial "titan of industry" who used his considerable personal fortune to establish cultural institutions that preserved his legacy. Born in modest circumstances in 1805, Packer abandoned farming to become a canal boat captain before investing in railroads and coal. In 1865 he used his wealth to establish a college in Bethlehem centered on engineering and a broad liberal arts education.

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