Late South County mill owner, developer bequeaths $241,000 to URI for scholarship

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 15, 1999 — The late George Perry Clark, who was descended from one of Rhode Island’s founding families, and his late wife, Vera, made a $241,000 bequest to the University of Rhode Island. The bequest creates the George P. and Vera J. Clark Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund. Annual earned income will be available to worthy and needy graduates of Chariho Regional High School to provide financial and educational assistance for students accepted to URI. Scholarships will be offered annually starting in the fall of 2000. “The University is very grateful for the generous bequest from George Clark in support of student scholarships,” said URI Provost M. Beverly Swan. “Whenever students have the opportunity to thank their benefactors, they invariably speak to the value of a scholarship as a strong motivator to excel, to prove their worth to the donor or to honor his memory. Scholarships are a wonderful investment because we see over and over again that the return on that investment is demonstrable in advancing the development of an educated citizenry.” The Clark family owned Shannock Village in Charlestown from 1710 to 1970s. They were among the first settlers in Rhode Island. “This bequest continues the Clark family legacy in Rhode Island,” said URI Director of Planned Giving Jack Z. Buckley. “It is also a fitting testament to a man who spent much of his life giving back to the community.” Clark was president, treasurer and chairman of the board of Columbia Narrow Fabrics Co., which he founded with his father in 1901. The younger Clark went on to found the Peace Dale Braiding Co. and the Delite Fabrics Co., which later became Ansonia Mills. In addition to being a mill owner, Clark became a real estate developer. He helped create the neighborhood now known as Columbia Heights in Charlestown, which features bungalows in a style popular in the early 20th century. In a 1918 Providence Journal article, Clark explained that his goal was to provide “comforts comparable with the best city homes erected for housing those of moderate means.” The idea was to keep workers content and on the job. Although the Columbia Narrow Fabrics Co. closed in 1968, the housing he helped build remains. Clark displayed a civic-mindedness throughout his life. Among other commitments, he was a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. He served as president of both the Richmond Visiting Nurses and the Clark Memorial Library in Carolina. -xxx- For More Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116