Peter Werth admits he is a man of few words. However, his gift to Fort Hays State University speaks volumes.
Jason Williby, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, announced a pledge of $5 million from Peter and Pamela Werth at Thursday’s dedication at the Memorial Union’s Sunset Atrium. The Kansas Board of Regents in their October meeting approved naming FHSU’s College of Science, Technology and Mathematics the Peter and Pamela Werth College of Science, Technology and Mathematics.
“Peter and Pamela Werth embody the pioneer spirit of western Kansas and the essence of Fort Hays State University,” Williby said. “They have made a significant pledge to FHSU’s Journey campaign, and we could not be more excited about the impact that this will have on our campus for many years to come.”
Peter and Pamela Werth began supporting Fort Hays State in 1981 with a modest gift of $25. In the years thereafter, the couple continued to significantly increase their level of support to the university. In 2013, the Werths committed a $1.6 million gift to support FHSU.
“I believe in my hometown of Hays and in Fort Hays State University,” Werth said in a 2013 news conference to celebrate that gift. “I hope this gift will help to further the education of students from northwest Kansas. I have enjoyed professional success, and nothing could be more appropriate than sharing with Fort Hays State University, which gave me the tools for my career.”
Peter Werth is a Hays native, a 1959 alumnus of FHSU with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and a 2013 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from Fort Hays State. Following his time at FHSU, Werth earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry from Stanford University. In 1982, he founded ChemWerth, Inc. in Woodbridge, Conn., to develop active pharmaceutical ingredients to produce generic drugs. In addition to serving as president and CEO of ChemWerth, he serves on the board of directors for various pharmaceutical research and development initiatives.
Dr. Greg Farley, dean of the Werth College of Science, Technology and Mathematics, said this gift will benefit students and various departments.
“This generous donation reflects a great investment in science education at Fort Hays State,” Farley said. “We can now add improved equipment to our teaching and research labs, initiate novel interdisciplinary efforts, provide student internships for professional development and enhance myriad student-centered activities.”
President Mirta M. Martin said FHSU was thankful for the Werths’ gift.
“What you have done here is transformational for our university,” Martin said. “We are thankful for your generosity. We are thankful for your confidence in the direction of the university.”
Werth said with state budgets tight, it is important for others to do what they can to support schools.
“I feel that state schools are under a lot of pressure,” Werth said. “If you want something great, people are going to have to step up, give the money. And I want Fort Hays State to be great.
“I hope you really make great progress with what we’re giving here, change the world,” he added. “I have a simple motto: Do good. Make a difference. Change the world.”