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Blanche E. and Bernard H. Jacobson 1917

BlancheAs a Lehigh undergraduate, Bernard Jacobson joined Phi Lambda Phi and began a life-long association with the fraternity.  His fundraising efforts and gifts were instrumental in the construction of the fraternity’s house in 1965. Jacobson also was a member of Tau Beta Phi, honorary engineering fraternity and the mining and geological society. He graduated from Lehigh in 1917 with a degree in electro-metallurgy and began his career in the chemical industry, mostly with West Virginia firms.

At Ohio-Apex, Inc., he is credited with developing the first commercial process for DOP, a vinyl plasticizer, in 1938, and he served as vice president, treasurer and general manager of the firm. The company was bought by Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation of Charleston, West Virginia, and in 1951, Jacobson began his 31-year association with that firm. Though he “retired” in 1961 as vice president and director, Jacobson continued as a special project consultant until he was 88.  For his second retirement, the company held “Bernie Jacobson Day” in his honor.

Jacobson established a scholarship fund at Lehigh in 1949. He and his wife, Blanche, supported the fund throughout their lifetimes and left much of their estates to augment the fund. Today, scholarship funds exist in the names of Blanche Jacobson and Bernard Jacobson. For his contributions to his alma mater, Jacobson received the prestigious Alumni Award in 1960.  Lehigh awarded him an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1972.