The union of the late Herbert and Marether Herts resulted in an appreciation and support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Although neither of them attended UAPB, they both came from small towns in the South and understood the importance of being able to extend an opportunity to those that came behind them. Having passed away in 1992 and 2013 respectively, their estate bequeathed $207,643.95 to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to establish the Herbert, Marether, and George Herts Scholarship.
A Korean War veteran, Herbert Herts was born in Spearsville, Louisiana. Because there weren’t any close schools in the area, he went to a laboratory school Tuskegee University which gave him a great foundation and taste of HBCU atmosphere in the 1950s. Mrs. Herts was born in Baxter, Arkansas and moved when she was a one year old. Having both enjoyed a fruitful career with the Department of Defense, they met in California where Herbert was stationed and the rest is history.
Dr. George Herts, brother of Herbert Herts and interim dean of the Division of Continuing Education and Graduate Studies at UAPB said he was surprised by the donation. He recalled conversations at family reunions where they would talk about the lack of support for HBCUs, but had no idea it would result in such a generous gift. He and his brother both graduated from Grambling State University.
“I never thought about the impact those conversations would have,” Herts said.
“This scholarship represents a continued and meaningful investment in the university’s quality education and the impact that will be felt by our students and the surrounding community for decades to come,” UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander said. “The true benefits of this gift are immense and will have a lasting effect. The recipients of this scholarship will become tomorrow’s leaders as they will develop new businesses and become entrepreneurs, discover cures and treatments for diseases, advance technology, and create innovative ways to strengthen and enhance the society.”
The details of the scholarship look particularly to help African-American students who are economically disadvantaged and in need of such assistance or those who are the first or second generation in their family to attend an institution of higher education.
“This gift is an excellent example of the level of commitment UAPB employees have for the students we educate,” Dr. Margaret Martin-Hall, director of Development and Title III said. “Dr. George Herts is a graduate of an HBCU that has a mission similar to UAPB; however, he encouraged his brother and sister-in-law to make their legacy gift to us—that’s dedication and commitment in action!”