The first, second and third floors of the C-Wing of Iacocca Hall will be closed until further notice due to the discovery of mercury in a lab room. An external company will be working on air quality tests and remediation. (Michael Ioannou/B&W Staff)

Lehigh alumnus Lee Iacocca, dead at 94, leaves legacy


Lee Iacocca, class of 1945 and Allentown native, died Tuesday at 94 years old.

The cause of death was related to his Parkinson’s disease, according to The Morning Call. 

As a Lehigh alumnus, Iacocca partnered with the university to found the Iacocca Institute in 1988, which has stimulated and produced leadership, innovation and success through the years. Through the Institute, programs like Global Village and the Iacocca International Internship Program have provided students at Lehigh and around the world with opportunities and experiences for more well-rounded and enriched educations. The Institute helps create global leadership and encourage the embodiment of different cultures.

Iacocca Hall stands on Mountaintop Campus in honor of Iacocca as a space for events, research and collaboration among students, faculty and visitors.

Iacocca studied industrial engineering and graduated Lehigh in three years. He then went to Princeton University for his graduate studies after receiving a fellowship.

With his degree in engineering, Iacocca helped develop the Ford Mustang, and he was responsible for bringing the Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy back to success as CEO in the 1980s.

He also wrote a book “Iacocca: An Autobiography,” which was a bestseller for weeks.

Iacocca is survived by two daughters, a sister and eight grandchildren.

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  1. Lehigh Alumnus on

    As a Lehigh Alum, it’s sad to hear this. Lee Iacocca became a legend to me from my first tour of campus. I’m sure he will live on in Lehigh spirit!

  2. Amy Charles '89 on

    At least as important, Lee Iacocca led, without self-aggrandizement, the project to restore the Statue of Liberty, a project to which he devoted himself for years. If you have not had a chance, when you’re next in NYC, take the ferry to the Statue, and go to the little museum in its base. There you will see displayed the letters that people wrote to him from all over the country, offering their dollar bills and quarters to help with the restoration project, and sharing their stories of arriving in America and being welcomed by the Lady, and sharing their parents’ stories, too. It’s one of the most moving exhibits you’ll see in this country. My guess is that he responded to every letter. I believe it was his parents who were the family’s immigrants to this country.

    Iacocca used to show up at Lehigh in his helicopter, landing in the field by Maginnes, because he was a busy guy. A certain real estate scam artist felt threatened by this and decided that he had to have not one but three helicopters, BIGGER helicopters, and he’d come and land them in the same field. One guy did worthwhile things. It wasn’t the guy who felt like he had to have a helicopter-measuring contest.

    Next time you’re in the LV, go to Yocco’s as a tip of the hat. Don’t skip the pierogies. All that stuff is important too.

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