Leonard Lauder ’50 and Ronald Lauder ’61

Leaders of Estée Lauder come back to Bronx Science to discuss their achievements


Johan Wichterle

The Lauder brothers pose in front of the Bronx Science Hall of Fame following their formal induction.

On December 14, 2017, Leonard Lauder ’50 and Ronald Lauder ’61 came to visit Bronx Science in honor of their Hall of Fame induction. They have each have achieved enormous growth within Estée Lauder, and also have a great impact in the fields of philanthropy, art, and politics.

After graduating from Bronx Science in 1950, Leonard Lauder attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He then went on to served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy. After being discharged from the Navy, Leonard Lauder later joined the Estée Lauder Company in 1958, where he began to transform the business.

Under him, the company went from making $800,000 in annual sales to an international, publicly traded company worth billions.

Ronald Lauder, following in his brother’s footsteps, attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business after graduating from Bronx Science in 1961. He began his career at Estée Lauder working at a factory in Oevel, Belgium and became the General Manager of Clinique Laboratories in 1985, eventually becoming the company’s chairman in 1994.

In addition to his work at Estée Lauder, Ronald Lauder has had an active role in the political world. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs, and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the Ambassador to Austria. Ronald Lauder discussed the influence that Bronx Science had on him followed him to Eastern Europe, where he created thirty-five schools for Jewish children. He continued his mission of helping people of Jewish faith through serving as the President of the World Jewish Congress.

In addition to their accomplishments in business and politics, the Lauder brothers have always had an interest in art. Ronald Lauder has been the Chairman of the Museum of Modern Art and an elected-benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lauder states that his passion for art began when he was young, adding “While I was at Bronx Science, I started to collect when I was thirteen. I used some of my Bar Mitzvah money. I bought Toulouse-Lautrec posters and then drawings.”

Similar to his brother, Leonard Lauder also demonstrated an interest in art from a young age, saying, “When I was in elementary school, I used to take the subway downtown twice a week to the Museum of Modern Art for their film series.” Since then, Leonard Lauder has become Trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1977 as well as eventually becoming the Chairman Emeritus.

“Both brothers agree that Bronx Science gave them an experience that they would not have gotten anywhere else.”

Looking back on their experiences, both brothers agree that Bronx Science gave them an experience that they would not have gotten anywhere else. If they were to give advice to current students, the brothers said to truly listen to what you want. Leonard Lauder added, “I wanted to go to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, but my parents decided since I went to a science school, and I was very good at that, I should become a chemist and work in a lab. Your parents want what’s best for you, but at the end of the day, don’t you have to decide maybe what’s best for you?” After all, listening to what their hearts desired was what eventually led the brothers to have such success in business, philanthropy, and art, with their path beginning at Bronx Science.

Johan Wichterle
Leonard Lauder discusses his business success during a student interview.
Victor Tesoro
Leonard Lauder gives advice to current Bronx Science students during a catered lunch.
Johan Wichterle
The Lauder brothers engage with the audience while discussing their achievements in the art and business worlds.
Johan Wichterle
Leonard and Ronald Lauder pose with current Bronx Science students with their Hall of Fame plaques.