Leon “Lee” Holt first came to the university in his naval uniform after serving in WWII. June regularly visited Lee from her alma mater, Cornell. The couple married in Lehigh’s Packer Memorial Church, settled in the Lehigh Valley, and, for more than six decades, has supported private education, arts and culture, global learning, and environmental programs.
Lee earned a bachelor of science degree from Lehigh in metallurgical engineering in 1948 and his juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951. He first practiced law with a Wall Street law firm and then as a member of the legal team for a major international oil company. After several years in New York, Lee returned back to the Lehigh Valley to join Air Products as an engineer/lawyer. In 1990, he retired from the company as vice chair and chief administrative officer.
Crediting Lehigh for teaching him reasoning and analytical skills, Lee wanted to provide the same opportunities to other students and, with June, created the Leon and June Holt Endowed Scholarship Fund. Since the fund began in 1996, eight students have benefitted from their generosity and received a Lehigh education.
The Holts also provided opportunities for global learning. During his career, Lee traveled extensively overseas and recognized that Americans lacked contact with international commerce. Knowing that the only way to gain worldly exposure is “to get there,” the couple, along with their children Rick ’85G and Debbie, created the Holt Family Endowed International Internship Fund in 2012. The fund provides scholarships that support students who want to gain international work experience by participating in the Iacocca International Internship Program.
Recognized patrons of the arts, the Holts have been benefactors to Lehigh’s performing arts center since its inception. A longtime member of the Friends Committee of the Zoellner Arts Center, Lee helped guide the direction of the university’s cultural venue. The Holts have also supported many cultural programs in the community including the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the Allentown Art Museum.
Members of the Asa Packer Society and Tower Society, Lehigh’s leadership giving societies, the Holts have made a lasting impression on the future of Lehigh University and its students. They live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.