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March 26, 2024

Clark receives $10M donation toward new climate-focused school

Photo | Timothy Doyle Clark University, Worcester

Clark University is on its way to establish a new School of Climate, Environment, and Society, following a $10-million dollar donation from Vickie Riccardo, a university trustee and philanthropist. 

The new school will seek to produce advanced solutions to fight climate change, a result of a two-year interdisciplinary planning effort, according to a Tuesday press release from the Worcester university.

A woman in a graduation gown and cap
Image | Courtesy of Clark University
Vickie Riccardo and her two daughters have donated $10 million to Clark University to help establish a school aiming to produce solutions to climate change.

“Clark’s School of Climate, Environment, and Society will offer a truly interdisciplinary approach to addressing one of the world’s most intractable challenges, drawing from nearly every University department,” Riccardo said in the press release. “Clark’s approach will distinguish it from other programs at other universities. Climate is a universal, multilayered, multifaceted challenge. I am tremendously excited about the potential to elevate Clark’s distinctive reach and impact through an innovative and inclusive curriculum, rigorous research program, and outreach collaborations.”

Riccardo made the donation alongside her daughters, Jocelyn Spencer and Alyssa Spencer,  who are both Clark alumnae. Their hope is the donation will encourage others to contribute, helping Clark raise $75 to $100 million to launch the school. 

“We are tremendously grateful to Vickie and her daughters for this transformative gift,” Clark President David Fithian said in the press release.“It will make an immeasurable difference for our university and, even more importantly, the world as we are better enabled to bring forward new solutions and have even greater impact.”

Clark is in the process of hiring a dean to lead the school once it commences operations.

Riccardo and her late husband, Don Spencer, contributed $2 million to the university in September 2021 to support a renovation of the university’s Little Center and Michelson Theater. 

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