Fred A. Lennon: The Founders Legacy

January 1, 1998

The Ashbrook Center is celebrating it’s fifteenth birthday this academic year. It is fitting to note that neither our birth nor our adolescence would have been possible without the three founders of the Center: Thomas A. Van Meter, Fred Lennon, and F. Clifton White. We remember them fondly, and we are grateful for their vision.

The last of our founders passed away this July. Mr. Fred Lennon, ninety-two years old at his passing, was known to the world as a very successful businessman, the founder and head of The Swagelok Company, which he had built from nothing into one of the most efficient and valued manufacturers of innovative high-pressure pipe fittings. He was a great philanthropist, and an early and committed supporter of Ronald Reagan and other conservative Republicans.

We knew him as a man deeply concerned with the education of young people, one fully committed to the nation and the things for which it stands. He never tired of reminding us that anything is possible in this country to those who work hard, think hard, and live lives of integrity. He thought this and acted accordingly. Without his help, the Center would not have been established, and could not have survived to be fifteen years old. He truly was a magnanimous man.

We have, over the years, tried to honor him as best we could, even though we knew that he was not a man who sought honor. We have over the years, tried to thank him for his benevolence, even though we knew that no thanks from us would be sufficient. We now merely want to acknowledge him, his help, his many virtues, and his noble soul. We shall always remember his graceful bearing, his deep humor, and his abiding love for America. That memory will not die.