Ferdinand Thun graduated from Lehigh in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering. While a student, he was editor of the Epitome and a member of Sigma Chi and Tau Beta Pi. He went on to earn an M.B.A. from Harvard University. In 1973, he returned to Lehigh and spent more than two decades as director of planned giving. He helped to develop the gift annuity program, the Tower Society, and the current scholarship program and helped many alumni and friends with major long-range giving plans. His wife, Liz, played an important role in many of these relationships.
During this time he also served as a director of Thun Investment Company, a family business engaged in real estate and investment management. Ultimately, he became president of the company and then managing director of a partnership which conducted a lengthy liquidation of the business. Prior to his Lehigh career, he worked for SKF Industries in various engineering positions.
Thun has been an active volunteer for Lehigh, serving as a committee member for his 40th and 45th class reunions and as chairman of his 50th reunion fund. In 1994, he received the Paul J. Franz award, which recognizes excellence in performance by a professional Lehigh staff member. In 2001, he received the Alumni Award for his service, loyalty, and dedication to Lehigh University as an alumnus. In 2002, he received the James Ward Packard award for volunteer service to the planned giving program.
Additionally, Thun is a generous benefactor of Lehigh, having endowed the Ferdinand and Elizabeth M. Thun Scholarship and the Thun and Janssen Memorial Scholarship, which aids first-generation U.S. citizens of immigrant families regardless of country of origin. The latter honors his grandfather, Ferdinand Thun, and his business partner, Henry Janssen. Both men emigrated from Germany in the late 1800s and founded a series of businesses in the Reading, Pa. area.
Thun and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Bethlehem, Pa.