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Herbert A. “Herbie” Wertheim Named 2011 Horatio Alger Award Recipient
Chairman and CEO of Brain Power, Inc., Chairman of the Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation, and Founding Chairman of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Florida International University to be Inducted this Spring for Overcoming Adversity
WASHINGTON, February 4, 2011 – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is pleased to announce that Herbert A. “Herbie” Wertheim, chairman and CEO of Brain Power, Inc., chairman of the Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation, and founding chairman of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Florida International University will receive the 2011 International Horatio Alger Award in recognition of his personal and professional success despite humble and challenging beginnings.
Dr. Wertheim will be formally inducted into the association when he accepts the Horatio Alger Award on April 8, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Recipients of the award have overcome great adversity to achieve admirable accomplishments, to serve as examples of achieving the American Dream, and to offer countless hours and resources to help others in need.
“We are pleased to induct Dr. Herbert Wertheim into the Horatio Alger Association and pay tribute to his success in the face of hardship,” said Tony Novelly, president and CEO, Horatio Alger Association. “The 2011 members are extraordinary role models of strength, resolve and achievement and will help to continue our mission of helping young people achieve similar success.”
Dr. Wertheim was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and his family lived in a small room above their bakery for many years. His father was physically abusive and his parent’s eventual divorce fractured the family: Dr. Wertheim lived with this father to help in the bakery, while his brothers lived with their mother. To escape his father’s temper, he often ran away and lived with the Seminole Indians in the Everglades. Eventually, at the age of 16, juvenile court gave him two choices: the state juvenile reformatory or a special Navy youth program. He chose the Navy.
After entering the Navy, Dr. Wertheim attended advanced classes in electronics, guided missiles, and nuclear ordnance disposal. He became a naval aviator, frogman and diver while earning his GED. Upon his discharge, he attended Brevard Community College and, while working the night shift at NASA, he designed vision and neurological instrumentation systems and won a medical scholarship, which enabled him to earn a bachelor’s of science a doctorate in optometry and later a Doctor of Science degree.
Dr. Wertheim practiced optometry before founding Brain Power Incorporated, the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments and chemicals, where he was the first to stress that UV light was the principal cause of cataracts and retinal and macular deterioration. His inventions of therapeutic tints, UV absorbers for eyeglasses, and thousands of other products have helped millions retain their eyesight. He holds more than 100 patents and trademarks and continues to lecture worldwide.
Dr. Wertheim has raised more than $200 million as chairman of the Florida International University Foundation. As trustee of the university he proposed, and helped win approval for, the first public medical school in Miami. Recognizing his leadership the trustees named the medical college in his honor. During the last 23 years the Wertheim’s have contributed more than $25 million to the university, expanding to over $50 million with state matching funds.
During his more than 30 years of leadership, the Wertheim Family Foundation has funded religious buildings, zoos, libraries, public TV-radio transmitters, plant conservatories, business lectures, scholarships, performing arts, medical education and research, and many other causes.
Dr. Wertheim will be honored among 11 other remarkable individuals who will receive the 2011 award for their hard work, self-reliance and perseverance:
- Roger Eugene Ailes, Chairman and CEO, FOX News and Chairman, Fox Television Stations Group
- Anousheh Ansari, Co-Founder and CEO, Prodea Systems, Inc. and Spaceflight Participant, Russian Space Program
- Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor, City of New York and Founder and Owner,Bloomberg, L.P.
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor and Film Producer
- Frederic V. Malek, Founder and Chairman, Thayer Lodging Group
- Harry S. Patten, Founder, Chairman and CEO, National Land Partners, LLC and Inland Management
- Josue “Joe” Robles Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
- James E. “Jim” Rohr, Chairman and CEO, PNC Financial Services Group (PNC Bank)
- Byron David Trott, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, BDT Capital Partners, LLC
- Glenn Stearns, Chairman and Owner, Stearns Corporation
- Rick Waugh, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Scotiabank (International Award Recipient–Canada)
In addition, the 2011 Norman Vincent Peale Award will be presented to Doré Energy Corporation President William J. Doré. The Norman Vincent Peale Award is annually conferred on an association member who has made exceptional humanitarian contributions to society, who has been an active participant in the association, and who continues to exhibit courage, tenacity and integrity in the face of great challenges. The award is named in honor of Dr. Peale, who has been an outstanding leader of the association for more than 40 years.
The 2011 members will receive their awards at the 2011 Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. Activities include three days of meetings and celebrations in some of the nation’s most historic buildings. The Horatio Alger National Scholars, remarkable high school seniors who have excelled despite adversity, also will be formally honored during the three-day gathering.
A complete list of all of the Horatio Alger Members can be found at http://www.horatioalger.org/members.cfm.
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program, state scholarship programs, and graduate grants. The association will have awarded more than $87 million in scholarships through 2012 to at-risk students determined to earn college degrees. The association is a Combined Federal Campaign participant; # 77062. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org