Thursday, May 04, 2006

"My heart is in the work." -- Andrew Carnegie

After spending eight years in and about Carnegie-Mellon University 25 years ago, four full time, and four part time, it seems fitting that I write a personal tribute to Andrew Carnegie.

Many have opinions concerning the life of the man best know as being rich and for his pioneering philanthropic spirit. This is the proverbial 'my 2 cents worth'.

I am grateful for the charitable works of Mr. Carnegie; as I am grateful for the contributions of Mr. Carnegie to the economic powerhouse that is the extent of our country today. I daresay he is one of my heroes on that note. As well as for his hard-working attitude towards life.

Was Andrew Carnegie:
"A bad man who became a good man later in life?"

Or was he:
"A great man who became legendary for his philanthropic contributions to society later in life?"

I would sum it up this way:

He was a good man all his life. His hard-working entrepreneurial spirit, while not very friendly to the environment, was friendly to business and provided vast employment to many people. With or without all of his pioneering philanthropy, his fundamental characteristic of entrepreneurial business, that which built his massive wealth, benefited society by pushing the very boundaries of the economy and industrial technology to a point whereby, I might say, this country was pushed to the forefront of greatest nations and was indeed the basis of our economy today. To sum it up: he was not the only one to benefit from his wealth. The so-called 'toilers' were gainfully employed, who would otherwise not be. For this contribution alone, I think he is overlooked and is sometimes even vilified. Why must a nation apologize for this kind of contribution.

"My heart is in the work." -- Andrew Carnegie


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