I am saddened to report the death of B. Charles (Chuck) Ames, a 1950 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan whose vision and love for the University will continue to impact Titans for generations to come.
Chuck died on Sept. 22 at age 92 at his home in Cleveland. A memorial in celebration of his life will be held at The Country Club in Cleveland on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.
A graduate of Harvard Business School and prominent businessman, Chuck served as President and CEO of Reliance Electric, CEO of Acme Cleveland, CEO of Uniroyal-Goodrich Company, and as Operating Partner and Vice Chair at the private equity investment firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice in New York City.
Chuck was a philanthropist at heart, with his alma mater among his favorite beneficiaries. Together with his wife Joyce “Jay” Eichhorn Ames ’49, their generous support included the largest gift in Illinois Wesleyan history – an endowment gift valued at $25 million to launch the Transforming Lives campaign in 2009.
A $14-million leadership gift from Chuck and Jay also enabled construction of The Ames Library, which was completed in 2002. Following an endowment gift for student scholarships – as a romantic surprise from Chuck – the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art was named in Jay’s honor in 1998, and the couple funded an expansion to the building in 2011, including the 2,400-square-foot glass rotunda and entrance lobby.
Chuck was driven by a vision that continues to inspire us, challenging alumni in 1998 to join in his and Jay’s belief and support for Illinois Wesleyan to become one of the top national liberal arts institutions in the United States. We are grateful for their gracious wish to see future students benefit as they did from their education here, as they explained to alumni and friends in launching the most successful campaign in our history: “We would not be who we are were it not for Wesleyan.”