Hays native and Fort Hays State University alumnus Peter J. Werth announced a major gift to the university during a news conference today on the FHSU campus.
Werth was in Hays for Homecoming activities. He will receive the Alumni Achievement Award on Friday night at the Alumni Awards and Recognition Banquet.
Werth announced at the news conference that he and his wife, Pamela, who was not able to attend, would give $1.6 million to FHSU over the course of four years.
The Werths specified that their gift should go to:
• STEM education -- the science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiative in the Institute of Applied Technology in the College of Education and Technology;
• Assistance with development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem; and
• The Department of Chemistry.
"Pamela wanted to be here today but sends her best wishes for the Tiger family," he said at the news conference. "I believe in my hometown of Hays and in Fort Hays State University, and I hope this gift will help to further the education of students from northwest Kansas."
Werth said his wife was the driving force behind their philanthropy, and it was her idea to make this contribution.
"I have enjoyed professional success, and nothing could be more appropriate than sharing with FHSU, which gave me the tools for my career," he added.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, thanked Peter and Pamela Werth for their generosity. "Peter was the kind of student who brings honor to our university," he said. "And with his pioneering work to make generic drugs more available to the American public, Peter demonstrates the qualities of courage, innovation and forward-thinking that FHSU is known for."
Werth, who graduated from FHSU in 1959 with a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry and later earned a master's of science degree in organic chemistry from Stanford University, founded ChemWerth Inc. in 1982 to develop active pharmaceutical ingredients to produce generic drugs.
In addition to his company in Woodbridge, Conn., where he is the president and CEO, Werth serves on the board of directors for various pharmaceutical research and development initiatives.
Today's gift to FHSU is only the latest example of the Werth family's generosity. Peter and Pamela founded the Werth Family Foundation in 2000 to support specific projects in educational, cultural and medical-related programs.
"Given the large donation that Peter and Pamela are gifting to FHSU, they are making educational opportunities available to a wide range of students for many years to come," said Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation.
The Fort Hays State University Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation designated by the state of Kansas to receive gifts on behalf of the university. Anyone interested in contributing to FHSU may call the Foundation at 785-628-5620 or visit http://foundation.fhsu.edu/.