Known throughout his corporate life as “the candy man,” the former chairman of the Hershey Foods Corporation, Hal Mohler knew that his company’s chocolate and the satisfaction he derived from charitable service were equally sweet. A 1948 graduate of the university, Mohler received his B.S. in industrial engineering and began his distinguished career at Hershey Foods. From his initial position as an engineer, he rose through the ranks as assistant to the president, vice president, and, eventually, president and chairman of the board.
His ascension path was similar at Lehigh, where he made his way from volunteer solicitor to president of the Lehigh Club of Central Pennsylvania. In 1970, he was elected president of the Alumni Association and in 1973 he began a 12 year term on the Board of Trustees where he earned the role of chairman. Mohler was awarded an honorary degree in 1975 for his outstanding contributions to the university. During the presentation of the degree, university president Deming Lewis remarked, “There are many today who want to tell a president how to run a university; you have achieved not only the wisdom but the right to do so.” Two years later, the Lehigh Club of New York honored him with their distinguished L-in-Life Award.
In 1986, the university purchased and renovated the former B’rith Shalom synagogue on the corner of Packer and Brodhead Avenues to house the department of industrial engineering and other technological programs. The Board of Trustees dedicated this “facility for the future” in Hal’s name out of appreciation for his leadership and support. He died in 1988. Mohler’s legacy lives on at Lehigh through the scholarship fund he established with his wife and high school sweetheart, Melda. She continued to support the fund and she visited campus annually to meet its young recipients until her death in 2004.