Dick Bergmark, IM ‘75, Hon. PhD '22, is well-known for his generous contributions to the Scheller College of Business and Swimming & Diving program at Georgia Tech. He has been celebrated numerous times, including receiving the “Gold and White” Joseph Mayo Pettit Distinguished Service Award, one of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association’s most prestigious awards.
Yet, Bergmark remained humble as he accepted a Georgia Tech honorary doctorate degree at the Spring 2022 Commencement Ceremony - a degree bestowed upon very few individuals.
“I’m a little bit speechless about this,” he explained. “Many of us probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the generosity of other people. Share this moment of achievement with your generous supporters.”
Giving Back to Tech
Bergmark received a scholarship for swimming from 1972 to 1975 and has stated that he could not have attended Tech without it. From his time as a Tech swimmer to his philanthropy as an alumnus, Bergmark continues to leave his mark on the lives of students and faculty. He credits the vision for the Scheller College of Business created by Dean Maryam Alavi as well as her predecessor, Dean Emeritus Steve Salbu, as the catalyst for his interest in giving back to the College. Bergmark believes “the progress made in recent years by Scheller should be the envy of other universities.”
He and his wife Toni established the Toni M. and Richard L. Bergmark Fellowship Endowment Fund to support out-of-state students entering Scheller’s MBA program. He also funds a Dean’s fellowship, six Dean’s scholarships, Study Abroad scholarships, and a bequest for an endowed chair at Scheller. Together, these gifts change the lives of students who may not otherwise be able to attend Georgia Tech.
"Wthout the Bergmark Dean’s scholarship, it would not have been possible for me to go to Tech. Additionally, Mr. Bergmark provided his scholarship recipients with experiences, opportunities, and guidance that I will forever cherish and be grateful for,” said Anne Gusler, BSBA ’18 and associate at Insight Sourcing Group.
For Tech’s Swimming & Diving program, Bergmark funded four athletic scholarships, the head coach position, and the naming of the Aquatic Center after his swimming coach, Herb McAuley. He also established the Toni M. and Richard L. Bergmark Athletic Scholarship Endowment Fund for undergraduate student athletes in the program.
Coach Courtney Hart with Dick
Bergmark is also an emeritus trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation, a member of the Alexander-Tharpe Board of Directors, chair of the Scheller College of Business Advisory Board, and supporter of the Peterson Scholarship Endowment.
Transformational Experiences Around the Globe
Shortly after graduating, Bergmark determined he wanted to work for a company with an international presence. He fulfilled that goal, living abroad during his career and meeting his wife, Toni, while working in London. He believes strongly in exposing students to other countries and cultures, knowing it will provide a transformational experience in their personal and professional lives.
In Dublin: From left to right: Gwen Gresham, Sam Medinger, Anne Gusler, Meredith Wolpert, Sarah Stebbins, Dick and Toni Bergmark
A few years ago, he invited a group of students to New York City for a chance to meet and talk with financial firms and investment bankers through visits to powerhouse financial organizations. JPMorgan, KKR, Citi, and Credit Suisse hosted the Scheller group, giving the students a glimpse into their New York operations. They topped off their time with a visit to the New York Stock Exchange, where they participated in the closing bell ceremony. At night, they attended the play Hamilton.
In New York City: From left to right: Peter Franzek, Lauren Alexander, Anne Gusler, Brett Broughton, NYSE Floor Specialist, Sarah Stebbins, Darby Foster, Sam Medinger
Bergmark planned, led, and sponsored the entire trip and students came back with a new appreciation of what the world can offer.
"I wanted to share the world where I have worked for the last 40 years, and I wanted these students to see first-hand the many career opportunities open to them,” Bergmark explained.
Sam Medinger, BSBA ‘18, was one of the students who participated in the trip and is now working in New York City as an investment banking associate with Bank of America.
Sam Medinger, BSBA '18
“Given my interest in a career in investment banking, the visit to New York allowed me to make valuable connections in Wall Street and understand how different positions within the finance industry work together. The trip reaffirmed my goal of a career in finance and demonstrated the application of material I learned through my classes at Scheller,” he noted.
Bergmark has also sponsored numerous overseas trips through the Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship, including trips to central and eastern Europe for the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact’s Leadership for Social Good Study Abroad Program.
This year, Bergmark kicked off Scheller’s annual Honors Day Awards Ceremony with an inspirational speech to students and other benefactors. He and Dean Maryam Alavi bestowed awards to each recipient.
As a major benefactor of the Dean’s Scholars award, he also attends the annual Dean’s Scholars dinner, which gives scholarship recipients the opportunity to get to know their benefactors and thank them for their life-changing gift.
Jamaal Hankey BSBA '22
“As a Bergmark Family Dean's Scholarship recipient, in addition to easing the financial burden of receiving a college education for myself and my family, Mr. Bergmark’s generosity has been truly inspiring. Just like him, I plan to use my future success to give back, pay it forward, and stand as an example of humble leadership through service," said Jamaal Hankey, BSBA ’22 and associate at the Creative Discourse Group.
History of a Giant
Bergmark was in the oil and gas industry since he began his career working at the Gulf Oil Treasury Department in Houston until 1983, when he joined Global Marine in Los Angeles as assistant treasurer. In 1987, he moved to Western Geophysical and was later transferred to London from 1990 to 1994, where he worked as the area manager of finance and administration for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East operations. His stint there would help influence his desire to expose Tech students to global experiences.
In 1994, he led the financing of the management buy-out of Core Laboratories. He then led the company’s IPO on NASDAQ in 1995, later transferring the listing to the New York Stock Exchange and then adding a dual-listing on the Amsterdam Euronext Stock Exchange. Under his leadership, the company grew to over 5,000 employees in laboratories and operations in more than 50 countries.
During his tenure, he served on the Board of Directors and was the executive vice president and chief financial officer at Core Laboratories before retiring in 2018 after almost 30 years of service. He left with the honor of being the longest standing CFO of any CEO/CFO team in the energy space and being recognized by Institutional Investor as a best CFO in his industry.
With a lifetime of professional success, Bergmark continues to pass along his knowledge and life experiences to help the students he supports, and his generosity has changed the lives of students who once only dreamed of going to Tech.
"Mr. Bergmark made it possible for me to attend a school I never thought I could. My time at Georgia Tech was full of life-long lessons and the creation of long-term friendships. I would have never imagined that I would be able to travel the country and land my dream job in four short years. Thank you for everything, Mr. Bergmark,” said Brett Broughton, BSBA ’21 and finance analyst at Apple.
Brett Broughton, BSBA '21