Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Arthur F. Searing graduated from Lehigh in 1928 and later went on to complete his graduate degree at New York University. While a Lehigh student, Searing played basketball, was president of Alpha Chi Rho, and worked on the Brown & White. He maintained his ties to both the university and fraternity, serving as an alumni volunteer and treasurer of the fraternity for 25 years. In 1950, he founded the Alpha Chi Rho Foundation, and in 1981 was named Man of the Year by the fraternity association where a room is named after him.
Searing began his career as a securities analyst in 1929, working for Chemical Bank in New York City, and later in institutional sales for Drexel & Company. Before retiring in 1972, he served as vice president of finance of the American International Group, an international insurance company that operates in more than 150 countries. Following his death in 1983, Searing was remembered through contributions to Lehigh, a place he held dear to his heart for all of his life.
A careful investor, Searing established three charitable trusts at Lehigh. Upon his death, one terminated trust became the foundation for the Arthur F. Searing Chair in the College of Business and Economics, which will eventually receive the other two trusts. His outright bequest to the University established the Arthur F. Searing Memorial Scholarship, benefiting students in the College of Business and Economics. His wife, Mrs. Ulla R. Searing, a native of Sweden, continued to celebrate her husband's life and their 30-year union through her own great generosity and foresight. She established the Searing Chair in Economics or Finance to support an outstanding faculty member in this area of study.