The president of a regional drug store chain with 26 outlets in West Virginia and Ohio will be the first speaker of 2013 in the College of Business and Economics Distinguished Speaker Series at West Virginia University.

Lynne Fruth, president of Fruth Pharmacy and a 1980 WVU graduate, will kick off the speaker series at 1 p.m. Jan. 31 in the WVU Mountainlair Ballroom.

Fruth Pharmacy was founded in 1952 and employs nearly 700 people. It ranks in the top 25 chains in the U.S. with an annual gross revenue of $130 million. Fruth is involved in supporting higher education through the Fruth Scholarship Program, which awards 26 scholarships each year.

“Lynne grew up in a West Virginia-based family business that expanded to more than two dozen stores,” said Dr. Jose Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean. “She is the president of a corporation that her father founded and grew from the ground up. Lynne has had a unique journey when it comes to entrepreneurial thinking, business and marketing strategy, operational procedures, and customer service and satisfaction. It will be quite interesting to hear what she has to say, especially since we live in an era when family-owned drug store chains are anything but commonplace.”

Fruth graduated magna cum laude from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in education. A WVU student-athlete, she was a member of the women’s softball team. She received her master’s degree from Marshall University in 1995.

The youngest daughter of Fruth Pharmacy’s founder, the late Jack E. Fruth, she grew up in the family business. Following graduation from WVU, Fruth held a variety of positions in both the public and private sectors of education including teacher, educational diagnostician and field researcher for the federal government. She began a consulting practice in 1994 and worked extensively throughout West Virginia providing systems consulting for troubled school districts. Her pioneering work in this area was recognized in 2004 when many of these programs were adopted and put into place statewide.

She was nominated to the Fruth Pharmacy board of directors in March 2009 and became chairman of the board in May of the same year. Involved in the day-to-day operations since that time, she has been instrumental in initiating a new marketing program and working to evaluate, streamline and standardize operational procedures at the corporate office and distribution center. Her focus and passion was to return Fruth Pharmacy to being the leader in customer service and customer satisfaction. Following significant positive changes at Fruth Pharmacy, she was named president in 2010 and elected to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores in 2011. Fruth was appointed to the West Virginia Parkways Authority in 2010 and is a 2012 inductee into the Marshall College of Business Hall of Fame, joining her father and becoming the first father-daughter inductees in the Hall of Fame.

“We want to provide B&E students and the University community with a variety of different speakers from whom they can draw valuable experiences and information,” Sartarelli said. “In Lynne Fruth, we have a person who has excelled in the West Virginia business environment, grew up in an entrepreneurial culture and has key insight into the educational arena.”

For more information on this event or the B&E Distinguished Speaker Series, see:



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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics or 304.293.5131