Peterson Award Dinner
GREENWICH RESIDENT HONORED AT GREENWICH LIBRARY'S 2014 PETERSON BUSINESS AWARD DINNER
Robert B. Goergen, Founder and Executive Chairman of Blyth, Inc, was honored on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, as the ninth recipient of Greenwich Library’s Peterson Business Award. Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation and former President of the University of Pennsylvania, presented this prestigious award to Mr. Goergen.
The award was presented at the 2014 Peterson Business Award Dinner, which benefits the Greenwich Library. Approximately 310 prominent business and community leaders attended the dinner, which is held every other year and is the Library’s only major fundraiser. The event netted $650,000 to support the Library's current services and programs, as well as fund new initiatives. Library Trustees Haley Rockwell Elmlinger and Kathy Whittemore served as co-chairs of the event.
When presenting the award to Mr. Goergen, Dr. Rodin compared him to John D. Rockefeller, praising the manner in which he has organized his giving like he runs his businesses. "Bob has not been afraid to give up the good for the great. He sees dynamism where others see chaos." In his acceptance speech, Mr. Goergen cited the importance of philanthropy and encouraged the attendees to give locally. "The diversity of needs in our community allows each of us to focus our talents, energies, and funds on whichever are of the most interest to us, or where we feel we can have the most impact," Mr. Goergen said.
The Peterson Business Award was established in 1997 by the Greenwich Library and the Peterson Foundation to "recognize and honor an individual whose innovative thinking, leadership, and sustained record of achievement has had a profound impact on the national and global economy, and whose words and deeds have demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and open access to information."
"Over the years, this award has been given to a constellation of business stars. This year we are honoring the first recipient to have served as a Greenwich Library Trustee. Bob Goergen was a highly valuable board member from 1995 to 2000, and helped lead the largest capital campaign in the Library’s history," said Nancy Better, president of the Greenwich Library Board of Trustees. "Bob Goergen embodies all the attributes of this accolade, which celebrates leaders who have made significant contributions to both business and society."
The Peterson Business Award is named in honor of Clementine Lockwood Peterson, whose 1992 bequest made possible a new 32,000 square-foot wing at the Greenwich Library. Designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, this wing contains expanded business and music collections. Mrs. Peterson's gift was made in memory of her son, Jonathan, and her husband, J. Whitney Peterson. The Peterson Business Award was conceived in order to celebrate Mrs. Peterson's extraordinary generosity and to recognize outstanding business leadership.
About Robert B. Goergen:
A classic entrepreneurial success story, Mr. Goergen created an entire industry when he expanded his regional candle business into a global operation and guided Blyth, Inc. to its position as the industry leader in candles and home fragrance products. Today Blyth, Inc. is a $1 billion multi-channel, multi-national NYSE company primarily focused on direct sales. Blyth, Inc., is the parent company of PartyLite, ViSalus, and Miles Kimball Group. Mr. Goergen is also Chairman of The Ropart Group, a private equity investment firm.
Previously, Mr. Goergen was a Partner with McKinsey & Company and Managing General Partner of The Sprout Group at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Prior to that, he worked with McCann-Erickson and Proctor & Gamble.
Since 1997, Mr. Goergen has served on the Wharton School Board of Overseers of The University of Pennsylvania. With a major gift in 1998, he initiated the Goergen Entrepreneurial Management Program, one of the largest and most diverse academic programs of its kind in the world. Mr. Goergen is also honorary chair of the Wharton Entrepreneurial Advisory Board and has endowed teaching programs in entrepreneurship, including funds for course development and fellowships for new faculty. In 2011, Mr. Goergen was awarded the Wharton Dean's Medal in recognition of his contributions and achievements.
Mr. Goergen has also been active at the University of Rochester. He has served on the Board of Trustees since 1982 and as chairman from 1990 to 2003. In 1995, Mr. Goergen and his wife, Pamela, made a significant gift to the university to support its undergraduate programs and fund 20 years of awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching. In 2000, he funded the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center renovation and in 2007 he funded the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering & Optics. In 2008, Mr. Goergen was awarded the University of Rochester's highest alumni award.
In addition, Mr. Goergen currently serves on the National Gallery of Art Collectors Committee in Washington, D.C., and on the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum in New York City. He is a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Mr. Goergen has also been involved in many Greenwich organizations including Greenwich Library, Greenwich YMCA, and the Bruce Museum.
Mr. Goergen received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and his MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
About Dr. Judith Rodin:
Dr. Judith Rodin is president of the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the world's leading philanthropic organizations. She was previously president of the University of Pennsylvania, and provost of Yale University. Since joining the Foundation in 2005, Dr. Rodin has recalibrated its focus to meet the challenges of the 21st century and today the Foundation supports and shapes innovations to strengthen resilience to risks and ensure more equitable growth around the world.
A widely recognized international leader in academia, science and development issues, Dr. Rodin has actively participated in influential global forums, including the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations General Assembly. Dr. Rodin is also a member of the African Development Bank's High Level Panel, a Board member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (co-created by The Rockefeller Foundation).
A pioneer and innovator throughout her career, Dr. Rodin was the first woman named to lead an Ivy League Institution and is the first woman to serve as the Rockefeller Foundation's president in its nearly 100-year history. A research psychologist by training, she was one of the pioneers of the behavioral medicine and health psychology movements.
Dr. Rodin is the author of more than 200 academic articles and has written or co-written 12 books. She has received 18 honorary doctorate degrees and has been named one of Crain's 50 Most Powerful Women in New York three years in a row. She has also been recognized as one of Forbes Magazine's World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Dr. Rodin serves as a member of the board for several leading corporations and non-profits including AMR Corporation, Citigroup, Comcast and the White House Council for Community Solutions. Dr. Rodin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.
About Greenwich Library:
The Greenwich Library system consists of the Main Library and its Byram Shubert and Cos Cob branches. The mission of the Library is to provide free and convenient access to information and to promote the love of reading and research, the joy of lifelong learning, and engagement with the arts, sciences and humanities. With 1,400 programs and events per year, the Library seeks to serve as the cultural and intellectual crossroads of the community. Greenwich Library has a total circulation of about 1.5 million, the highest reported in Connecticut. Greenwich Library was recently named a five-star library by Library Journal for the fourth time.
The Peterson Business Award was established by the Greenwich Library and the Peterson Foundation to "recognize and honor an individual whose innovative thinking, leadership, and sustained record of achievement has had a profound impact on the national and global economy, and whose words and deeds have demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and open access to information."
The Peterson Business Award is named in honor of Clementine Lockwood Peterson, whose 1992 bequest of $25 million made possible a new 32,000 square-foot wing at the Greenwich Library. Designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, this wing contains expanded business and music collections. Mrs. Peterson's gift was made in memory of her son, Jonathan, and her husband, J. Whitney Peterson. The Peterson Business Award was conceived in order to celebrate Mrs. Peterson's extraordinary generosity and to recognize outstanding business leadership.
For additional information or tickets to this event, please contact Sarah Falvo, Greenwich Library Development Director, at (203) 622-7957 or send an e-mail
Below is a list of past honorees and presenters.
Robert K. Steel
NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development
Peter T. Grauer
William B. Harrison, Jr.
Indra K. Nooyi
Richard C. Levin
Thomas J. Neff
Spencer Stuart, U.S.
Jeffrey R. Immelt
Dr. Henry A. McKinnell, Jr.
Ellen V. Futter
William B. Harrison, Jr.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Lynne V. Cheney
Sanford I. Weill
Robert E. Rubin
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
The Honorable Gerald R. Ford