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Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
Who has not heard of Andrew Carnegie, with his avuncular smile and white beard, his amassing of great wealth and his philanthropic largesse? In his essay "The Gospel of Wealth," at 54 years old Andrew Carnegie wrote that rich men should distribute their surplus wealth for the general welfare. "The man who dies rich," he wrote," dies disgraced." He certainly followed his own advice, distributing millions to the cause of education, world peace and the general betterment of the standard of living for the working man.

Carnegie worked in a cotton mill when he first arrived in the United States from his native Dunfermline in 1848, he was 13 years old. Later jobs included working as a telegraph operator and messenger and an engine tender for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company where he stayed for 12 years, introducing the sleeping car. His future lay elsewhere, however, and in 1864 he bought the Storey Farm on Oil Creek, Pennsylvania. It was the start of a meteoric rise in fortune.

The money from oil gave Carnegie the chance to invest in the burgeoning iron and steel industries. He founded the Keystone Bridge Company and by 1888 his extensive steel plant included coalfields, ironfields, railroads and steamships. By 1901 his companies had merged into the United States Steel Corporation, providing the transplanted Scotsman with the countless millions that he now devoted himself to donating to various causes.

In exchange for sites, and on condition that they would maintain them, Carnegie provided for a great number of public libraries not only in the United States and Britain, but in many other English-speaking countries. His generous donations to education in his native Scotland brought him the lord rectorship of St. Andrew's University. A benefactor of Tuskegee Institute, he also provided funding for pension funds for U.S. College professors, homestead workers and for the proper recognition of heroic deeds. He financed a temple of Peace at The Hague, Netherlands in 1903; a Pan-American Palace in Washington, DC and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Perhaps Carnegie is best remembered for his founding of the Carnegie Institute of Technology of Carnegie- Mellon, University in Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Institute in Washington, DC. His Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which he began in 1905, published the famous Flexner Report of 1910, Medical Education in the United States and Canada. It produced a revolution in medical education for which most of the world is eternally grateful. logo
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