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Juniata Alumnus Ron Wertz Honored by Hillman Foundation by Funding $500,000 Scholarship

(Posted April 2, 2007)

Ron Wertz, president of the Hillman Foundation and a 1959 Juniata graduate

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Hillman Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based philanthropic foundation, has approved a $500,000 grant to Juniata College to establish an endowed scholarship to honor Ronald W. Wertz, the foundation's longtime president, and his wife, Ann. Both Ron and Ann graduated from Juniata in 1959.
The Ronald W. and Ann L. Wertz Endowment will provide a full-tuition scholarship for four years for a highly academically qualified student.
"We are extremely grateful to the Hillman Foundation for honoring Ron and Ann in a way that will provide the financial opportunity for an outstanding student to receive a Juniata education," says Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata. "There is no better gift to the college and no better way to honor two of our own."
The Hillman Foundation was founded in 1951 with the mission to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Pittsburgh and the southwestern Pennsylvania region. The foundation's board of trustees approves support for a broad range of programs and projects of nonprofit organizations in the region.
Among the foundation's notable grants in education are: Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh; the Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy at Chatham College; the Institute for Justice and Social Responsibility at Carlow University; the Hillman Center for Performing Arts at Shady Side Academy; and endowed chairs and scholarships at various colleges and universities and private secondary schools.
Other major initiatives have included Hillman Cancer Center and Hillman Fellows in Innovative Cancer Research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Children's Museum of Pittsburgh; Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History; and Hillman Fund for Art acquisitions and exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Ron Wertz, a native of Lewistown, Pa., graduated from Juniata College in 1959, earning a bachelor's degree in business administration. His wife, the former Ann Larkin, a native of Pittsburgh, also graduated from Juniata in 1959, earning a bachelor's degree in home economics. Ann Wertz taught home economics after graduating from Juniata. She later became an active community volunteer and full-time homemaker. She has held offices in organizations such as the Women's Committee of the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Junior League of Pittsburgh. During the 1980s and 1990s, she was co-principal in an advertising/public relations company.
Ron started his career in higher education at Juniata in 1959 as assistant director of admissions. He was promoted to director of admissions in 1960. In 1963, he moved to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., where he initially served as director of financial aid and placement and later as director of development. He left Franklin and Marshall in 1969 to join the Hillman Foundation as its first executive director.
In 1990, he was named president and trustee of the foundation, titles he still holds. Since joining the foundation in 1969, he has worked with members of the Hillman family developing their philanthropic interests and currently serves as either president or executive director of the family's foundations. He also is a consultant to the Hillman Company, a private investment firm.
Ron has been an active volunteer for Juniata College. He served on the college's board of trustees from 1987 to 1993 and served on the President's Development Council. In 1994, he received the Harold B. Brumbaugh Alumni Service Award. He served as chair of the College Task Force that planned Juniata's 1993 capital campaign. Ann has served as class fund agent for the college's annual fund.

"We are extremely grateful to the Hillman Foundation for honoring Ron and Ann in a way that will provide the financial opportunity for an outstanding student to receive a Juniata education."

Thomas Kepple, Juniata president

Wertz, a resident of Pittsburgh, has been active in a variety of professional and community associations, including the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Council of Foundations and the Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania.
His community involvement includes having served on the board of directors of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh Children's Museum, St. Clair Hospital and the St. Clair Hospital Foundation.
Ronald and Ann Wertz have three children: Laurie E. Wertz, who resides in San Francisco, Calif.; Michael S. Wertz, who lives in the Pittsburgh area, and Jeffrey L. Wertz, who lives in Aspen, Colo.. The Wertzes have four grandchildren.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.