As historian for the class of 1917, Wilbur Beck wrote, “we are more than eager to put to the test the knowledge gained during this time, furthering its interest toward a greater future…” The electrical engineering major’s first test of his knowledge was as an Army lieutenant in France, one of nearly two thousand Lehigh men who served their country during the war. Their names are engraved on plaques in the Alumni Memorial Building. Beck came to Lehigh from Mahonoy City, Pa., and was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity during his undergraduate years. After his military service, he worked for several steel and coal companies and for the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission.
The writing ability Beck showed as class historian surfaced later in his career. He served three years as managing editor of Industrial Engineering, a McGraw-Hill publication. In 1935 he joined Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s publications department as a feature writer and later produced motion pictures for the company before his retirement in 1959. After his death in 1969, the majority of Beck’s estate came to Lehigh for an endowment fund in his memory. His wife remained active with Lehigh until her passing, when the university received the bulk of the Beck estate.