When large acquisitions take place in our industry, sometimes the numbers can be staggering. And typically it's assumed that the proceeds are going to shareholders in the case of public companies, or the ownership group in the case of private firms.
But apparently Thomas Lord had something else in mind. And because of that, after the recent completion of the sale of Lord Corp. to Parker-Hannifin Corp. for $3.68 billion, four institutions that are "seeking to advance education and research" each are receiving $261 million.
Now, I never knew Thomas Lord. He led the family-owned company until his death in 1989, about a year after I joined the staff of Rubber & Plastics News. But apparently in putting together his estate plan he wanted to leave a lasting legacy, where a significant amount of money would be used to further science.
So his estate plan created Jura Corp., a holding company that owned all of the voting stock and most of the non-voting stock of Lord Corp., which was headquartered for most of its 95 years in Erie, Pa., before moving to Cary, N.C.
Jura also owned four foundations that were set up and in turn owned a significant part of Jura. There were Lord foundations set up in four states—California, Massachusetts, Ohio and North Carolina—that supported the University of Southern California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University.
Lt. General Frederick McCorkle, retired from the Marines and who served as Jura Corp.'s chairman, said Thomas Lord had identified these "research institutions that shared his vision of continuous learning and innovation."
Over the years, the foundations already had provided about $200 million to the institutions for education and research. But the real economic windfall came when the sale of Lord Corp. to Parker-Hannifin was finalized, and each of the four shared in a more than $1 billion payout.
Ed Auslander, former Lord CEO and president, called the gift "consistent with Tom Lord's deep-rooted values and social responsibility."
To say the four institutions are grateful is an understatement. The Cleveland Clinic, which said the $261 million represented the largest gift in its history, will use it to support its "The Power of Every One," an initiative designed to help the physician-scientists translate their discoveries into new patient therapies.
USC plans on using the funding to "drive transformative innovation and scientific advances that will benefit society." And MIT said the value of the gift is magnified because it gives the institutions great flexibility in how to use the funds, something that isn't common with traditional philanthropy.
As Auslander said, Thomas Lord "leaves a permanent mark on using knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to solve technological challenges, making the impossible real."