Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Leir, Henry J., 1900-1998
Henry J. Leir (1900-1998), H1979, was an internationally known industrialist and a long time benefactor of Tufts University.
Born in Germany, Leir began his career at a Bonn-based metals and mining business. He fled Nazi Germany in 1933, establishing residence in Luxembourg, where he remained until 1938. In 1938, Leir left for the United States, where he established the Continental Ore Corporation and a number of successful trading companies worldwide.
Leir sold his business in 1968 and became a philanthropist, with Tufts often benefiting from his generosity. He made substantial donations to the Elizabeth Van Huysen Mayer Campus Center, and was an early supporter of the Tufts European Center in Talloires. His receipt of an honorary degree in 1979 coincided with the center's opening. Leir also donated to the School of Nutrition, establishing the Jean Mayer Chair in Nutrition, and pledged unrestricted support to aid the Fletcher School's operating budget.
Leir died on July, 15, 1998, in Manhattan. A bust of Lier created by his niece, sculptor Marcelle Quinton, is displayed in the lobby of the Aidekman Arts Center.