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Herman Lay, who built Lay’s potato chips, on HISTORY Channel

Last updated February 12, 2021

By Tina Underwood

Man in glasses, Herman W. Lay

Herman W. Lay

Herman W. Lay (1909-1982) attended Furman University on an athletics scholarship in the late 20s, but left after two years to pursue his entrepreneurial leanings. The snack food magnate is known for the potato chip company H.W. Lay and Company, which merged with The Frito Company in 1961 to create Frito-Lay. In 1965, Frito-Lay merged with Pepsi-Cola, the two becoming PepsiCo, Inc., whose 2019 revenues hit $67 billion for the multinational food, snack and beverage giant.

Lay, who received an honorary degree from Furman in the 1960s, will be featured in a HISTORY Channel series, “The Food That Built America,” Sunday, Feb. 14, at 9 p.m. EST. Food writer Lillia Callum-Penso speaks to Furman Vice President for Development Heidi Hansen McCrory about Lay’s legacy for an article that appears in The Greenville News.

Furman’s Physical Activities Center is named in Lay’s honor as well as the Lay Scholarship. Lay Scholars receive free tuition, room, board and fees at Furman.

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