Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Receives $260,000 Gift to Help Create ‘OWU Promise Scholarships’

November 19, 2014 – by Cole Hatcher

Richard S. Ames ’77

DELAWARE, Ohio – As the major shareholder of five successful Ohio companies, Richard S. Ames knows how to attract attention and capture the imagination. And the 1977 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate is helping his alma mater to do the same with a new $260,000 gift commitment.

Ames of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is using his four-year pledge to create both an Ames Scholars Program and an Ames Endowed Scholarship. Both lay the foundation for a new “OWU Promise Scholarship.”

Ames will use $240,000 of his commitment to provide 12 students with $5,000 scholarships during each of their four years at the university. These Ames Scholars Program awards come with a match challenge that requires Ohio Wesleyan to secure 12 or more additional donors to create their own OWU Promise Scholarships. The remaining $20,000 of his gift will serve as a dollar-for-dollar challenge to fellow members of the Class of 1977 to increase their support of the Ohio Wesleyan Fund.

But Ames isn’t finished with his strategic thinking. His gift also is eligible for Ohio Wesleyan’s recently announced $250,000 major-gift match program, which increases the value of his contribution to $510,000. All of the major-gift match funds will be used to create an Ames Endowed Scholarship under the umbrella of the new OWU Promise Scholarship program.

“Dick Ames is a psychology major-turned entrepreneur, and he is always thinking about how to motivate people and maximize opportunity,” said OWU President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “It’s exciting to see his creativity and commitment come together so powerfully to benefit Ohio Wesleyan and it students.”

Ames said he hopes his gift to Ohio Wesleyan’s “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” campaign inspires other alumni, parents, and friends to create their own OWU Promise Scholarships.

“So many people want to give, but aren’t at a point in life where they are ready to make large, one-time gifts,” Ames said. “An OWU Promise Scholarship requires a four-year commitment of $5,000 per year. This is a comfortable price point for many donors yet still is very impactful for students. It truly is a great way to connect with students and help them as they work to build their tomorrow.”

At Ohio Wesleyan, Ames was a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. Today, he is the major shareholder of Bedford Heights-based Tavens Packaging and Display Solutions and Madison Electric Products; Command Plastic Corporation in Tallmadge; Polystar Containment in Akron; and Fitworks fitness centers in Cleveland and Cincinnati. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Illinois Wesleyan University and on the Visiting Committee for Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. He and his wife, Anne, have three daughters.

Ohio Wesleyan launched its “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” campaign in July with the key objectives of enhancing access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment; recognizing and rewarding faculty excellence and innovation; and improving the physical campus. The leadership phase already has yielded more than $50 million in contributions and commitments, including an anonymous $3 million gift to create the major-gift match program. The match program will augment up to 12 future contributions of $250,000 or more with a $250,000 match. Learn more about giving to the university at owu.edu/waystogive.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.