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Lehigh University receives $4 million for endowment

Charles D. Couch '38 passed away in December 2006 at the age of 91.

Lehigh University has received $4 million for general endowment from the estate of Charles D. Couch ’38 of Wilmington, Del., a former executive with DuPont Co.

Couch passed away in December 2006 at the age of 91.

“We are so grateful to Mr. Couch for his generosity and forethought, and for the confidence he continually showed in the direction and future of the university,” says Lehigh President Alice P. Gast. “His gift gives Lehigh the financial flexibility to explore new opportunities that we otherwise might not be able to pursue. It will make Lehigh a better place for the generations of students yet to come to South Mountain.”

Unrestricted endowment is critical to the strength of the university because it provides permanent, ongoing resources that can be devoted to the greatest areas of need, Gast adds.

Couch graduated in 1938 from Lehigh University with a degree in business administration from the College of Business and Economics. While at Lehigh, he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity and a tennis player.

Couch was a long-time benefactor of the Lehigh Fund. He was a member of Lehigh’s Asa Packer Society for leadership in annual giving, and in the Tower Society, which recognizes gifts to endowment. In 2003, he received the university’s Alumni Award, which recognizes men and women who have given continuing support to the university and contributed significantly to their communities.

Couch, who retired from the treasurer’s department at DuPont in 1979, is a direct descendent of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf, one of the leaders of the Moravian denomination in the 1700s, and his daughter, Countess Benigna von Watteville. Her founding of the Moravian Seminary in 1742 created the origins of Moravian College.

Couch will be honored in October 2008 at Lehigh’s annual Founder’s Day ceremony. His name will be inscribed on the university’s Leadership Plaza at the Alumni Memorial Building to ensure that his generosity is always remembered by the Lehigh family.

The gift is part of the Shine Forever: The Campaign for Lehigh, a $500 million campaign focused on raising endowment for faculty chairs, undergraduate scholarships, academic programs and student life and athletics, in order to win the finest students and faculty and continually enhance the quality and reputation of the university.

More information about the campaign, its priorities, and progress, can be found at online.

--Janet Norwood

Photo courtesy of Moravian College

Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008

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