LANG Eugene M. Lang 1919-2017 Eugene M. Lang, philanthropist and entrepreneur, died at his home in Manhattan, NY at the age of 98 on April 8, 2017. He had Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer. A life-long New Yorker, Lang was born in 1919 to Daniel and Ida Kaslow Lang, immigrants from Hungary and Russia. He attended P.S. 121, and at the age of 15, entered Swarthmore College on a scholarship. He graduated in 1938, and subsequently added degrees from Columbia University in Business and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in Engineering. In later years, he was awarded 45 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities across the country. Lang pursued his business career through REFAC, an international company he founded in 1952, creating diverse manufacturing ventures in the United States and abroad based on new products and innovative technologies. He became recognized internationally as having pioneered licensing and technology transfer as practical means for small American manufacturers to extend their business interests to include foreign markets. Reflecting his accomplishments, Forbes Magazine characterized him as "the quintessential entrepreneur" and Nation's Business "a father of innovation." An active protagonist of small business interests, he received the Government's "E" Award from President Kennedy, as well as commendations for distinguished service on seven overseas trade development and policy missions of the U.S. Commerce and State Departments. He gradually wound up his business activities in order to focus on his philanthropic work, after establishing the Eugene M. Lang Foundation. Commentators often described Lang as the "most creative philanthropist in America." The combination of entrepreneurial instincts and creative imagination that fueled his diverse business ventures around the world characterized his philanthropic ventures as well. He initiated education, health and arts enterprises that are recognized for their ingenuity and transformational accomplishments. The recipient of many honors, he was deeply honored to receive the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Bill Clinton. President George H.W. Bush also designated him as a "Point of Light." In 2008, the National Conference on Citizenship named him "Citizen of the Year." In 1981, Lang created the "I Have a Dream" Program, inspiring hands-on philanthropy nationwide. Following Lang's example, I Have a Dream sponsors collectively provide sustained personal support to many thousands of low-income children during their K-12 years, plus college scholarships (www.ihaveadreamfoundation.org
). In 2001, Mr. Lang founded "Project Pericles" to encourage and help colleges and universities to incorporate education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as essential parts of their educational programs (www.projectpericles.org
). He also endowed and otherwise supported facilities, scholarships, academic projects, and student and faculty initiatives at many colleges. His initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History and New York- Presbyterian Hospital have exposed scores of underserved middle school and high school students to science and health careers, taught them study and research skills, and helped make them leaders in their schools and communities. The development of a community-based health research center at New York Hospital-Queens is among his most far-thinking projects and his support of the renovation and operation of the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC helped transform a community. Mr. Lang was Chair Emeritus of Swarthmore College, founder and Chair Emeritus of the national "I Have a Dream" Foundation, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Conference of Board Chairs of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges and Project Pericles, board member of the Columbia University Business School, where he established the Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, and lifetime trustee of The New School. He founded the undergraduate school of the New School, Eugene Lang College, which is known, like its founder, for creative innovation and excellence in higher education in New York. Lang married Theresa Volmar in 1946. They were married for 62 years until her death in 2008. They had three children, Jane, David and Stephen (Kristina) Lang; eight grandchildren, Jessica, Benjamin, Lucy, Daniel, Noah, Grace, Joanna and Jacob, and eight great-grandchildren, Tom, Erin and Evelyn Kosa, Alexander, May and Theodore Gene Alamar, and Isaiah and Theresa Asher. He is mourned as well by his sister Barbara Lang, his cousin Helen Lang Suskin (Steven), dear friends Harriet and Paul Kittay, Lauren McGrail, Executive Director of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and Jan Liss, Executive Director of Project Pericles, scores of "original' Dreamers and Lang Scholars, and his dedicated caretakers. A funeral service will be held at Congregation Emanu-El of New York, 65th Street at Fifth Ave., New York, NY on April 12, 2017 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to any of the many organizations Mr. Lang supported, including Swarthmore College and Eugene Lang College, as well as Concerts in Motion, PO Box 231097, New York, NY 10023, that brought him joy through music and interactions with students during the last years of his life (www.concertsinmotion.org
). Future memorial events will be announced. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mr. Lang's Manhattan home, and on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Jane Lang's home in Washington, DC from 7 to 9 p.m.A funeral service will be held at Congregation Emanu-El of New York, 65th Street at Fifth Ave., New York, NY on April 12, 2017 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to any of the many organizations Mr. Lang supported, including Swarthmore College and Eugene Lang College, as well as Concerts in Motion, PO Box 231097, New York, NY 10023, that brought him joy through music and interactions with students during the last years of his life (www.concertsinmotion.org
). Future memorial events will be announced. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mr. Lang's Manhattan home, and on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Jane Lang's home in Washington, DC from 7 to 9 p.m.
Published by The Washington Post from Apr. 9 to Apr. 12, 2017.