Louis “Luke” Weinstock, who graduated from Lehigh in 1936 and forged a successful Long Island-based building business, died last week in Tucson, Ariz., where he lived for the past five years.
Weinstock and his wife, Jane, who died in 2004, were generous supporters of Lehigh, having donated more than $10 million to fund numerous projects on campus, as well as provide annual support for more than 60 years. The projects include the leadership gift for the Jane and Louis Weinstock Center for Journalism at Coppee Hall, an endowed scholarship fund and an artist-in-residence endowment for the music department.
Weinstock told Lehigh’s Alumni Bulletin that his passion for journalism was an outgrowth of his experience selling ads for The Brown and White during the Depression. He said his job consisted of “practically begging for ads from local businesses like a South Side barbershop.
“I learned how to go after something and keep at it until you get it, to get along with my fellow man…and to pay attention,” he told the Bulletin in 2011.
The Weinstocks also funded the restoration of Lehigh's President’s house in the late 1990s, which included major structural and aesthetic changes to the 1868 home.
The most recent addition to an already extraordinary record of giving to Lehigh was his generous support of the project to restore Linderman Library, where the main reading room is named in his honor. The couple also supported the Zoellner Arts Center and the art and architecture department at Lehigh.
“Always looking to do more”
Born in Texas, Weinstock moved to New York before coming to Lehigh to major in business administration. After serving in the U.S. Army in the European theater during World War II, Weinstock returned to the Long Island area to take over the construction business that had been started by his father. He maximized the opportunities presented by the post-war housing boom and built a business that was so successful that he retired at the age of only 39. He and his wife devoted the remainder of their lives to philanthropy.
Lehigh President Alice Gast remembers Weinstock fondly.
“Luke had a tremendously positive outlook and spirit,” she said. “He taught me a lot about philanthropy, and from his guidance, we developed ‘Luke’s Laws,’ which are small pieces of advice to inspire giving and raise the bar. His most important advice was to always be sure to ‘have fun.’”
Jack Lule, department chair and professor of journalism and director of Lehigh’s Globalization and Social Change Initiative, came to know Weinstock during the fundraising campaign to restore Coppee Hall.
“I knew he was a loyal alum, but I didn’t know about all his fond memories of The Brown and White,” Lule said. “He had contributed to articles, worked for the business staff, and had close friends on the newspaper. Those fun and fond memories resulted in the lead gift for the renovation of Coppee and the creation of the Jane and Louis Weinstock Center for Journalism.”
Francis Figlear, a former senior principal gifts officer in the advancement office, shared a friendship with Weinstock and his wife for more than 20 years. He described Weinstock as “one of the warmest, most generous and genuine men I’ve ever known.
“He was a true son of Lehigh and he and Jane just loved the school,” Figlear said. “They were both deeply invested in every way—emotionally, spiritually. They were responsible for forming the Palm Beach Alumni Club, which now has more than 100 members, and they were always looking for ways to do more. My wife and I treasured the Weinstocks’ friendship.”
A passion for history and tradition
Adds Denise Blew, associate vice president of finance, and treasurer and assistant secretary to Lehigh’s Board of Trustees: “We lost a true friend. He thought Lehigh was a tremendous institution, but he was always looking for ways to make it even better.”
Blew said Weinstock was particularly passionate about Lehigh’s history and traditions, and loved to reminisce about his time here.
“He built so many wonderful friendships, and he enjoyed talking about his experiences at Lehigh,” Blew said. “He had a great attitude about everything. He loved a challenge, and always wanted to find a creative way to solve it.”
Joe Kender, vice president for advancement, said Weinstock “certainly bled brown and white, and he was as loyal as they come. He was the kind of person who was concerned with helping us meet whatever needs we had at the time. That was always his primary motivation.”
Guided by his oft-stated philosophy that “giving should be fun,” Weinstock was also generous with his time. He received the Class of 1936 Alumni Award and the James Ward Packard Award, and served as president of the Lehigh Palm Beach Alumni Club.
Weinstock and his wife devoted much of their time toward civic and community affairs, and were active in the Community Chest boards in Palm Beach and Long Island, the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. He served as vice president of the San Diego chapter of the English-speaking Union, an international organization that promotes cooperation among English-speaking nations.