Meet Our Donors

Sam and Pam Banks

Sam and Pam Banks

Lehigh is a community of Future Makers—people who are inspired to think deeply and create grounded, pragmatic solutions through research and scholarship. Sam Banks ’63 is one of the alumni supporting research and scholarship by helping attract outstanding faculty and fund research.

Banks was attracted to Lehigh because of its stellar reputation as an outstanding engineering school. He thought so much of his Lehigh experience and education that he recently made a generous $3.5 million bequest—a future gift from his estate—to endow a chair in the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. The gift includes $2.5 million for the endowed chair and $1 million for faculty startup and related research costs for the chairholder.

Steve DeWeerth, dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, said, “We truly appreciate Sam’s future gift and generosity. This endowed chair will support our cutting-edge research and education in a discipline that significantly impacts the global engineering and business communities. Donors like Sam exemplify the passion and commitment of Lehigh alumni to the advancement of the Lehigh and Rossin College mission.”

Banks received his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in 1963. While his career path took him in a different direction, it was important to him to endow a chair in the department.

“My ISE training served me well, even though I never really practiced as an industrial engineer. ISE is an excellent way to prepare for manufacturing cost analysis,” Banks said. “My engineering education also helped me quickly understand corporate finance and competitive strategy.”

“Sam’s future gift will fund one of the highest academic awards that a university can bestow on a faculty member: a named, endowed chair,” said Nathan Urban, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “It is an important recruiting tool that recognizes and honors the holder of the appointment. Hiring the best faculty is critical as we try to increase the quality and rankings of our departments.”

Banks retired in 1997 as vice president, acquisitions and financial planning, with spice giant McCormick & Company.

“Lehigh taught me tremendous problem-solving capabilities that served me well my whole life—that’s why I wanted my bequest to go to my alma mater,” Banks said. “I hope the endowed chair enhances Lehigh and the ISE department and helps attract the best candidates as undergraduates.”

Will you join the Banks family in supporting Lehigh Future Makers? Contact the Office of Planned Giving at (610) 758-4749 or to discover what types of estate gifts fit best with your personal circumstances.

Lehigh University Donor Sam and Pam Banks