John D. Rockefeller

One of the world’s richest men and renowned business magnate is John D. Rockefeller. Born in New York, Rockefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, an organization that was the first great trust and held a virtual monopoly in the US in the late 1800s. In fact, it was because of this that the US government first introduced antimonopoly laws (Sherman Antitrust Act (1890))!

Although he possessed a talent for business, Rockefeller devoted the latter part of his life to charitable work. He was recognized as a philanthropist at the time of his death in 1937, having abandoned the Standard Oil Company after 1897. The most notable of his charitable work was the founding of the University of Chicago, to which he donated over $80 million throughout his lifetime. Other works include the creation of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and the General Education Board, fine examples of his devotion to improving the quality of education in the US. He was once recorded as stating:

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.

Education of the masses improves their quality of life by enabling them to pursue bigger and better dreams, freeing them of the shackles of ignorance.

Rockefeller is an incredible example of a man who not only created a business empire, but also helped to improve the lives of others. He should be an inspiration to us all.