Decorated alum returns to Fort Hays State for 2018 Entrepreneur Direct


NOTE: A high resolution photo of the Entrepreneur Direct is available by emailing

By Diane Gasper-O’Brien
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. – It’s not every day someone after whom a college is named visits that university.

Fort Hays State University had the pleasure of hosting Peter J. Werth this week.

Werth – of the Peter Werth College of Science, Technology and Mathematics – was on campus as the featured speaker at Entrepreneur Direct, a speaker series conducted by Fort Hays State’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

Two years ago, Werth, a Hays native, and his wife, Pamela, pledged $6 million to Fort Hays State’s College of Science, Technology and Mathematics. The Kansas Board of Regents approved naming the college after Werth, an FHSU graduate.

Also returning to Hays for this year’s Entrepreneur Direct was Dr. Mark Bannister, who started the event back in 2012. Bannister, then dean of the College of Business and Leadership – which was later named after W.R. Robbins – has been a part of Entrepreneur Direct all seven years.

“We wanted to bring successful entrepreneurs to campus for students to learn from and to be inspired by and to help spark their own entrepreneurial spirits,” Bannister said.

This year, Bannister had further to travel than across campus to the Robbins Center from his office in McCartney Hall.

After 26 years at FHSU, Bannister accepted the position of interim dean of the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University in Idaho.

He served as the facilitator for Thursday’s session, saying he was pleased that Werth could be part of this year’s event.

“Peter Werth embodies the Tiger spirit of western Kansas,” Bannister said.

Werth founded ChemWerth Inc., a privately held, Connecticut-based corporation in 1982. It is a full-service generic drug development and supply company providing high quality active pharmaceutical ingredients to regulated markets worldwide.

He graduated from Fort Hays State with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and received the Alumni Achievement Award in 2013.

Other panelists Thursday were Dr. Melissa Hunsicker-Walburn, interim dean of the Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship; Dr. Arvin Cruz, chair of the Department of Chemistry; and Dr. David Snow, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Before answering questions about his successful business ventures, Werth highlighted numerous points for success, including:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, don’t do it.
  • Work smarter, not harder.
  • Remember your organization will take on your personality.
  • Say what you do, and do what you say.
  • Have a life goal other than business.

One of Werth’s most noteworthy philosophies is inscribed on a conference room wall in the Dane G. Hansen Scholarship Hall:  “Do good. Make a difference. Change the world.”

“Don’t be afraid to take chances,” Werth told the audience Thursday. “You learn from your mistakes.”

Werth also stressed to “never stop learning.”

He ended his talk like he said he often does.

“Customers come and go, but good friends are forever,” he said. “I consider you all my friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”


CUTLINE: Peter J. Werth speaks at the 2018 Entrepreneur Direct at Fort Hays State University. Others on the panel were, from left: Dr. Arvin Cruz, Dr. Melissa Hunsicker-Walburn and Dr. Mark Bannister.



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