Harvey Mudd was a Mining Engineer who made his fortune by reading Ancient History. He read that the Byzantine Empire was fueled by the rich Copper mines on the island of Cyprus, which later dried up, contributing to the empire's collapse. Mudd travelled to Cyprus, located the mines, reopened them with modern technology, and made a fortune off the copper he took out. I think the mines are still in operation.

Mudd parlayed his fortune into a few more profitable mines and smelting operations, and used a small piece of it to found the college that bears his name. Given that he made his money through the application of both history and technology, he chartered the college to give its students a thorough education in both the humanities and the sciences.

Harvey Mudd is a distant relative of the infamous Dr. Mudd that naively treated John Wilkes Booth after Booth assassinated Lincoln.

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