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Local News

USF announces "seven-figure pledge" for new science building on Joliet campus

JOLIET – The University of St. Francis has announced a "seven-figure pledge" to be used for a new science building.

The pledge was made by alumni William and Patricia Bellah.

USF in a news release announcing the pledge only said the amount as "seven-figure," meaning it is at least $1 million. The pledge was described as the "lead gift" to be used for the science building, which is scheduled for a groundbreaking in 2016.

William Bellah graduated in 1982. Patricia (Banks) Bellah graduated in 1983. They now live in Spring, Texas. William is the founder of Compass Chemical International LLC, an importer of phosphoric acid and other chemicals, and recently retired, according to the news release.

Their pledge will be recognized in the naming of a 150-seat, multi-purpose lecture hall in the science building.

The building will be constructed at the corner of Wilcox and Douglas streets. In addition to the lecture hall, it will contain nine teaching laboratories, four research laboratories, 11 faculty offices and two study lounges.

The lecture hall also will be used as space for events and meetings for students and the community, USF said.

Previous donations from the Bellahs have gone to athletic programs, the communication and media arts department, and other uses.

"Everyone on campus has been touched by their generosity," USF President Arvid Johnson in the news release.

In a written statement in the news release, William Bellah said, "Most college graduates will say that the only thing their college degree did for them was open the doors to opportunity in the world. Trish and I feel the education and assistance we received by attending the University of St. Francis and achieving our degrees opened up the world to endless opportunities. Most importantly, we were always treated like family."

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