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1964 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Herbert J. Watt*

Former President
Peabody Institute

"Hold on to your goals with tenacity until they are achieved."

Herbert Watt came to the United States with his parents from Londonderry, Ireland, in 1902, when he was 11. They settled in Philadelphia, where he worked as a stable boy. For 25 cents a day, he cleaned out stalls, polished harnesses, and exercised horses to help feed the family. He attended night school and eventually left the stables to become an office boy with a law firm. He continued his night school education and, after five years at the law firm, quit to take a better paying job as a clerk with U.S. Steel Corporation in Philadelphia. Impressed with his ambition and his struggle for an education, his superiors soon promoted him to a sales position. After serving as U.S. Steel's vice president of western sales, he left in 1955 to become president of the Canton Railroad in Baltimore. He resigned from the railroad when he reached retirement age in 1960 and became president of the nonprofit Peabody Institute, which housed a famous conservatory and reference/research library.

* Deceased