"If you want to make something you care about last, you need to endow it."
—Michael Caruso '67
More than four decades after his graduation, Mike Caruso '67 can still rattle off, at the drop of a hat, the names of the Lehigh professors, coaches, and mentors who changed his life: Leeman, Tresolini, Dunlap, Smolansky, Barry, Dowling—and the list goes on.
Relationships like those, he says, are what make Lehigh alumni so diehard. "If you're fortunate in life, you have several families-not just your biological family. I rank the Lehigh family as one of those most dear to me."
"We have a culture and a bond in the Lehigh family that is beyond any I've seen," he explains, leaning against a wall of family photos intermingled with Lehigh memorabilia. "There is a richness to the Lehigh experience—small classes, individual attention of professors, and the relationships we develop. That's something you always remember."
Years ago, Caruso established the Caruso Family Memorial Scholarship Fund as a way to make sure that experience stays open to talented students. Now, the three-time NCAA wrestling champion, National Wrestling Hall-of-Famer, and Lehigh Trustee emeritus is continuing to do his part as the chair of the Tower Society.
"If you want to make something you care about last, you need to endow it," he says. "Without a scholarship, I would not have come to Lehigh and had the life I've had. Someone felt strongly enough to provide me with a scholarship, and now I need to pass that forward. Endowment is critical, and I am proud to serve the Tower Society in this way."