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UA Success Story: Howard Lutnick

Leslie Brown

We’re supposed to “pay it forward”, or return a kindness to another when we have the opportunity. Howard Lutnick has returned the favor.

Haverford College is in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. From their website, this is what graduates are supposed to be equipped with when they leave:

Students leave Haverford with an increased sense of independence, curiosity and confidence, as well as lasting bonds with friends and faculty. Whether they go on to advanced education, the workforce, travel, or public service, they leave grounded and well-equipped for rich, dynamic lives.

Howard Lutnick lost his mother when he was in high school to cancer. His first week in college as a freshman at Haverford College, his father passed away from a tragic medical mistake.

Yet you can still hear the resentment in Lutnick’s voice when he talks about feeling abandoned by his uncles and aunts and grandparents after the death of his parents. “The way I describe it, you’re either in or you’re out,” he says. “What I learned in 1979, all my relatives — they stepped out. We learned to live without all of them. All of them. It was just the three of us. Gary and Edie and me.”(1)

That’s when Lutnick received a call from the college president Robert B. Stevens,

“Howard, your four years here are free.”(2)

Howard is now 53, and the chairman of Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm. Recently he donated the largest amount ever given to the college; 25 million dollars. So far he has donated 65 million dollars to the college.

To Lutnick, his motivation was simple: Love.

“Haverford was there for me,” he said, “and taught me what it meant to be a human being.”

In total, Lutnick has given $65 million to the school over the last 25 years.

Lutnick was the C.E.O. of Cantor Fitzgerald when 657 employees where lost in the 9/11 attack in New York. Maybe that helped him shape his philosophy,

“The only reason to have money,”

Lutnick sentimentally told the crowd,

“is to share it with your friends and have fun.” (1)


(2)

pay it forward

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