Eugene Lang, millionaire who financed college dreams, dies at 98

“When he rose to speak in 1981 to the graduating sixth-graders at his old Harlem elementary school, Eugene M. Lang had planned, he said, on ‘mouthing the usual commencement banalities.’

But as the wealthy industrialist eyed the five dozen underprivileged, largely minority students, he could not bring himself to preach to them about the successes that they might never have the tools to reap. He discarded his remarks and recalled to them the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, urging the children to pursue dreams of their own.”