The Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation, created more than 40 years ago, has as its motto “Making Life on Earth Better.”

Noting that the foundation’s mission complements the scientific focus at Scripps Research, Microsoft’s Bill Gates took the initiative not long ago to introduce Herbert Wertheim to Scripps Research President and CEO Peter Schultz, PhD. A discussion followed and when Schultz extended an invitation to join the institute’s Board of Directors, Wertheim accepted.

“Scripps Research aligns with much of the work that my foundation is doing, which is to help people maintain their daily health and live long, prosperous lives. I’m a strong advocate for wellness and preventive medicine. Working together, I believe we can seek to impact even more lives, as prevention is the best medicine.”

—Herbert Wertheim, OD, DSc, MD (hc)

Many words can, in part, describe Wertheim. Optometrist: He began his medical career with a successful clinical practice. Inventor: In the 1960s, he discovered a way to tint plastic eyeglass lenses, later producing a dye that absorbed ultraviolet light. Businessman: He founded Brain Power Incorporated, now the world’s largest manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments, eyeglass lens tints and diagnostic products for eye care professionals. Investor: Wertheim invested his profits in the stock market, steadily acquiring a fortune. Philanthropist: As chair of his family foundation, Wertheim has given millions of dollars to educational, cultural and healthcare organizations in his home state of Florida and around the world; and he has signed The Giving Pledge, promising to contribute the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

But there’s another word that perhaps best encapsulates this multitalented man, while providing an insight into all that he has accomplished. According to Wertheim, “If there’s one word I’d choose to describe me, it would be ‘inquisitive.’ I like to poke around, gain knowledge. One of my hobbies is reading unrelated patents. I believe that every moment of every day is an opportunity to learn something.” Combined with his many attributes, it is that constant, inquisitive drive that makes him a valued addition to the Scripps Research Board of Directors.