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Happy Birthday to Lee Iacocca, High School Debater and Business Leader

by Erik Fogel | Oct 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM |

great debaters, Lee Iacocca

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"You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere." - Lee Iacocca

 

 

This month we celebrate great debater Lee Iacocca's birthday. He was born on October 15, 1924, and will be 93 years old! Congrats to Mr. Iacocca for his accomplishments and good health!

 

Lee Iacocca is an automobile executive and masterful businessman. He was born Lido Anthony Iacocca in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As a child, Lee was sickly and later deemed unfit to serve in the military during WWII. But his early limitations didn't prevent Iacocca from going on to do great things.

 

Lee Iacocca went to William Allen High School. His Latin teacher, Mr. Virgil Parks, sponsored a debate team, which Iacocca found instrumental to later success. Mr. Iacocca earned his undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and a master's in engineering from Princeton University.

 

In 1946, Iacocca began his career as an engineer at Ford. However, he found he was becoming more interested in sales. Lee started working in product development and one a leader in the development of the Ford Mustang and Pinto. He climbed up the corporate ladder and in 1970 became the president of Ford. After experiencing conflict with Henry Ford, Iacocca was fired in 1978.

 

But his momentum didn't stop. Iacocca turned to Chrysler next. At the time, the Chrysler corporation was on the brink of bankruptcy. Thanks to Lee Iacocca's leadership, the company rose from their sticky situation and began to turn a profit. Before long, that profit turned into record-breaking sales.

 

Lee Iacocca's success at turning out Chrysler made him a national celebrity. Others sought his services, including President Ronald Reagan. The president asked for Iacocca's help to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

 

In addition to dedicating his life to business, he has dedicated his life to philanthropy. "In May 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Iacocca to head the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which was created to raise funds for the renovation and preservation of the Statue of Liberty. He continues to serve on the board of the foundation. Following the death of Iacocca's wife Mary from diabetes, he became an active supporter of research for the disease. He has been one of the main patrons of the research of Denise Faustman at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2000, Iacocca founded Olivio Premium Products, which manufactures the Olivio line of food products made from olive oil. He donates all profits from the company to diabetes research. In 2004, Iacocca launched Join Lee Now,[24] a national grassroots campaign, to bring Faustman's research to human clinical trials in 2006. Iacocca has been an advocate of "Nourish the Children", an initiative of Nu Skin Enterprises,[25] since its inception in 2002. He is currently its chairman. He helped donate a generator for the Malawi VitaMeal plant. Iacocca led the fundraising campaign to enable Lehigh University to adapt and use vacant buildings formerly owned by Bethlehem Steel. Iacocca Hall on the Mountaintop Campus of Lehigh University houses the College of Education, the biology and chemical engineering departments, and The Iacocca Institute, which is focused on global competitiveness." (Wikipedia)

 

Lee Iacocca credits his debate experience with much of his success in life. Debate helped Lee develop his speaking skills and think on his feet. Build the same foundation that helped Lee Iacocca by looking for a debate team in your area!

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