KINGSTON, R.I., October 26, 2015 – The newest building being constructed on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus will soon bear the name of 1962 URI alumnus and supporter Richard Beaupre, the founder and chief executive officer of Lincoln-based ChemArt. The center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Beaupre has a long history of philanthropy at his alma mater, including a recent $2.5 million gift pledge.
Gov. Gina Raimondo signed House bill 5575 into effect in May, officially approving the request by the University to establish the $68 million building as the Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences. The state Senate also passed a version of the bill.
“We are deeply grateful to Dick for his longstanding generosity and support of URI, and particularly this important project,” President David M. Dooley said. “He clearly understands that to move Rhode Island forward, we need the latest in scientific facilities to prepare our students, to provide faculty with the very best research tools and to lay a foundation for economic development in Rhode Island. As the founder of one of Rhode Island’s important design and manufacturing companies, Dick understands what the University and the state as a whole need to thrive in the 21st century.”
The Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences was funded in large part by a $61 million bond issue approved by Rhode Island voters on the 2010 ballot. It will join two other recently completed facilities – the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences and the College of Pharmacy building — to complete the Health and Life Sciences District on the north district of the Kingston campus. The 135,000-square-foot center, once opened, will be a key component in further strengthening the University’s leadership in the health and life sciences and in supporting the state’s knowledge economy.
Beaupre recognizes the impact URI and its students can have on the economy. “The governor has indicated that she sees value in finding ways to keep college graduates from Rhode Island here in the state to help spur and support economic growth. As a URI graduate, that is just what I did. I worked hard and created a manufacturing business that provides jobs to close to 150 full-time workers. I am very proud of that.”
Construction on the technologically advanced center started in December 2013. The design uses natural light and energy-saving infrastructure components and features a generous amount of space dedicated to collaboration between faculty and students. The center, once opened, will replace Pastore Hall, which was built in 1953 to accommodate 800 students. It will triple the amount of existing space for teaching labs and nearly double the space for research labs. It will provide state-of-the-art facilities for leading faculty who conduct research in such areas as developing advanced batteries to fuel energy efficient automobiles, improving resolution in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and creating new clinical methods for earlier disease detection. And it will house one of the nation’s key resources for research and training in the battle against terrorism, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence for Explosives Detection, Mitigation and Response.
The center will serve more than 7,000 chemistry students each year. About 40 percent of all students are required to take some chemistry courses.
About Richard Beaupre
Beaupre, a Cumberland, R.I. resident, graduated from URI in 1962 with a degree in chemistry after serving two years of active duty with the Navy. He was able to complete his education with financial support provided by a donor who helped married students at URI with continuing education costs. According to Beaupre, “There was no GI Bill at the time. I was married with two kids and lived in Providence. I worked hard while commuting to school and holding down a job at the same time. URI helped me out with a scholarship and I never forgot that. I am loyal to URI for what it did for me and I try to pay it back, which is a great honor for me.”
A research chemist, Beaupre worked for four different companies before founding ChemArt in 1976 in a former ice cream factory in East Providence. He invented the formula and process for a light-sensitive dry film, revolutionizing the process of photo-etching on metal and printed circuit boards – a process used worldwide to this day. Today the multi-million dollar ChemArt is the premier photochemical etcher in the country and a recognized world leader in this technology. In 1981 the White House commissioned his company to create the White House ornament and ChemArt has entered the ornament design competition and has designed and manufactured one every year since.
Beaupre’s Support of URI
The donation to the new Center is not Beaupre’s first large-scale donation to URI. In all, his nearly $4 million in gifts over the past decade, including his most recent $2.5 million commitment, have helped scores of students, including those with financial need as well as those interested in the arts. He donated $1 million in 2004 to establish an endowment to provide funds each year for the Hope and Heritage Fund – a fund established by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1999. This vital fund provides students and faculty with opportunities to present, perform and exhibit their research and creative works at professional venues throughout the world. Thousands have benefited from this fund to date. Over the years the Hope and Heritage Fund has made it possible for drama students to compete in prestigious acting showcases and for film students to share their creative works at festivals around the world.
The University’s Undergraduate Honors String Quartet was able to travel to Belize and France to perform at a prestigious chamber music festival, and a class of journalism students went to New Hampshire to cover a presidential primary with support from the Fund, primarily as a result of Beaupre’s gift. The dean’s fund was renamed in Beaupre’s honor in 2004.
Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at URI, said, “Dick is an amazing person who has never forgotten the value of the education he received at URI. Thanks to his generosity, which has allowed students and faculty to disseminate their work across the country and world, students have been able to secure admission to prestigious graduate programs and promising employment in their fields of study. Faculty careers have also advanced as a result of the many opportunities afforded them. Still more students have benefitted from direct financial support through his scholarship, and his latest gift to URI will provide many thousands of students and faculty with phenomenal facilities in which to learn and teach. We are truly grateful to Dick and his support has made a tremendous impact.”
Beaupre also created and supports the Beaupre Family Scholarship at URI, which provides financial assistance to Rhode Island students in the College of Arts and Sciences who are married or single and who have children under the age of 18 at home. It was designed to help students who are in the same situation he was when he attended URI. Beaupre created the scholarship in 1992 with a $50,000 gift, and in the last decade alone, 45 students have benefitted from that support.
In addition to his financial support, Beaupre has a long history of involvement with URI since graduating more than five decades ago. He has served in a number of volunteer advisory capacities including his current roles as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council and of the URI Foundation Executive Board.
While talking about his days as a student at URI, Beaupre reflected on his childhood connections to the place where he took his chemistry classes. “John Pastore was a great U.S. senator representing Rhode Island,” said Beaupre. “As a child I Iived on Webster Avenue in Providence and his parents lived only a few houses down. I remember the times the senator would visit his parents. I am honored and humbled that my name should appear on this building, the way his does on the old chemistry building – the very building I took chemistry classes in more than 50 years ago,” he said.
James A. Hopkins, interim president of the URI Foundation, said, “Dick is a truly committed alumnus of URI and one who puts his pride on display as often as possible. His devotion to his alma mater has lifted the entire University community and the impact of his philanthropy will be felt by scores of students and faculty for many generations to come. It is very fitting that this remarkable new facility will bear the name of such a committed alumnus.”
Richard Beaupre, the founder and chief executive officer of Lincoln-based ChemArt, joins Winifred Brownell, URI dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, outside the newly named Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences. URI Foundation Photo by Joe Giblin.