Toni F. Clark and Richard J. Bell '63

Toni F. Clark and Richard J. Bell '63


Richard J. Bell ’63 and Toni F. Clark give $5 million for new integrated life sciences center at Wooster

Construction funding now complete, college aims for June 2016 groundbreaking

28 May, 2015 by John Hopkins

WOOSTER, Ohio – Richard J. Bell, a 1963 graduate of The College of Wooster and member of the college’s board of trustees, and his wife, Toni F. Clark, today announced a $5 million gift to support the construction of Wooster’s new integrated life sciences center.

Bell is one of two trustee members of the planning committee for the project, which will involve razing Mateer Hall, the current biology building, and replacing it with an entirely new structure that will be connected to the Severance Chemistry building to create an integrated life sciences complex.

“Dick Bell has served Wooster in so many ways,” said Grant Cornwell, the college’s president, “as a trustee, a leader among our Washington D.C., alumni, and a generous philanthropist. I have come to greatly value his expertise, his insights, and his unflinching honesty. This is one former Marine who’s never afraid to speak his mind.”

Speaking about the gift, Dick said, “Toni and I have made Wooster a primary focus of our philanthropy. Who would not love this wonderful college? Wooster is a place that nurtures young people while educating them to be contributing citizens in a world desperately in need of liberally educated, honest leaders. We are fortunate to be in a position where we can make this gift and very pleased to do so.”

With $40 million in commitments in hand, the construction fund raising phase of the life sciences project is now complete. The college continues to seek financial support for the innovative, interdisciplinary educational programming that will take place in the new facility, including new endowed professorships and research funds in the life sciences. Groundbreaking is planned for June 2016 and the new facility will open in September 2018.

Bell graduated with honors from Wooster in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1964. He served in the U.S. Marines from 1966 to 1969, and with the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam as a Captain.  He is president of Potomac Development Corporation, a company he co-founded in 1971 with fellow Wooster alum and roommate, David Schwartz ’63, which develops and manages real estate in the Washington, D.C. area. Bell has been a member of the college’s board of trustees since 2008. The Richard J. Bell Lobby in the Scot Center, the college’s athletic and recreation center, recognizes his generous support of that project.

The College of Wooster is America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research. Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education, culminating in a rigorous senior project, in which each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student’s own choosing. Through this distinctive program, every Wooster student develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.