Manfred Wirth - The Manfred F. Wirth Endowment
The late Dr. Manfred F.K. Wirth was born in Vienna in 1913. He received a university education in Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna, with special distinction in the field of Austrian history, and was awarded a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna in 1936. He began his career with the Austrian National Bank in Vienna, but moved to smaller private firms in the period from 1938 to 1945. From 1945 to 1951 he was the Sales Director for the Austrian National Steel Corporation (VÖEST AG) in Linz, one of the largest industrial enterprises in Austria, as well as administrator of the steel wholesale firm, Ehrenletzenberger.
In 1952 Wirth emigrated to Canada, where he was employed by Algoma Steel Corporation in Sault St. Marie, in charge of market research and pricing, and responsible for Algoma's entire transportation and export infrastructure. In 1959 Wirth left Algoma and founded his own company, the highly successful Montreal-based Wirth Ltd., which specialized in the import to North America of products of the Austrian National Steel Corporation, as well as those of related Austrian industries, with offices in New York, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles. In 1993, at the age of 80, Wirth sold his company and went into brief retirement. Soon lured back to the life of an active entrepreneur, however, he founded a new company, M.F. Wirth Rail Corporation, which was engaged exclusively in the sale of European steel rails to North and South America. Wirth passed away in March 2003.
Wirth's commitment to his Austrian heritage focused not only on his homeland, but on the broad cosmopolitan legacy of central Europe as a whole. The establishment of the Manfred F. Wirth Endowment provided the resource support that makes the ongoing study of this common cultural legacy of central Europeans possible both nationally and internationally. Generations of scholars and students will remain indebted to his vision and generosity.