Crammed in the backseat of a Volkswagen Beetle akin to a clown car, Fred Bargar ’73 and four of his classmates cruised up the interstate toward The Mount every school day in 1973. As he watched his 800-square-foot, Glen Burnie home grow smaller in the rearview mirror, Fred never would have imagined that he’d be where he is today.
After graduating college and spending nearly 20 years in healthcare-related industries, including a lengthy stint at Dow Chemical Company, Fred saw an opportunity to branch out on his own. In 1999, he, along with his longtime friend and fellow clown car passenger Mike Demchuk ’73 and another partner, started IgG America.
A high-tech home healthcare company, IgG America specialized in infusing patients around the country with immunoglobulin (IgG), an antibody found in blood. IgG replacement therapy, called IVIg, is used to treat a number of chronic illnesses, such as significant neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases. Typically, patients requiring continued treatment would have to regularly visit a hospital or doctor’s office. Fred and his partners found a way to administer the treatment in the comfort of the patient’s home, maximizing the care they received.
“We found a better way to do it,” Fred says. “I think this is a great lesson for entrepreneurs: you don’t have to develop new and outstanding technology. Discovering the next Google is hard to do, but if you find a way to do something better and make it more efficient for customers, that’s something you can run with.”
Fred and his partners spent about a decade growing the business, and in 2006, successfully sold IgG America to a large pharmaceutical company. Today, Fred’s focus has shifted from helping IVIg patients receive the premier healthcare they need to helping bright young men receive the quality education they deserve.
“When I could, starting an endowment was one of the first things I thought of,” he says. “There are kids out there who really deserve a chance, and I just wanted to make that happen.”
Growing up in Glen Burnie, Fred felt naïve to the world beyond his backyard, but when he started at Mount Saint Joseph, he saw those doors open and was exposed to a diverse community and a broader understanding of society. He met new people from all backgrounds and watched as possibilities unfolded in a future he never dreamed attainable. Being able to provide another student with that kind of eye-opening experience is what drives Fred to give back to The Mount. The Fred Bargar ’73 Endowment Fund provides a scholarship to an eligible freshman from Glen Burnie.
“Ultimately, I wish money wasn’t an object for any kid who wanted to go to Mount Saint Joseph,” Fred muses. “If there was enough money in the endowment that if you were qualified and you earned it, we took care of it – that’s the dream.”