Bethel University Receives $1 Million Gift from Local Business Owner, Alumnus

Lissa Diaz

Bethel University recently received a $1 million gift from the Mely and Rick Rey Foundation Inc. Rick, a 1977 graduate of Bethel University, owns Specialty Products and Polymers Inc., Niles, Mich. The business was founded in 1995 as a silicone custom mixer dedicated to quick turnaround times and excellent customer service.

“I’ve been so blessed. It is one reason I’ve been giving back,” says Rick Rey. “Giving a gift is not only paying back, but paying forward.”

Brent LaVigne, Ph.D., vice president for Institutional Advancement at Bethel, agrees. “The impact of this gift is both immediate and long-lasting. Yet, what excites me most is the spirit in which the Reys give. Their desire isn’t for personal recognition, but to encourage others to invest in Bethel University.”

The gift from the Reys supports four areas they are passionate about – long-term funding through an endowment, support of international students, scholarships and the chemistry department. Rey, who attended Bethel as an international student from the Philippines said Bethel was like a life preserver for him. Rey says he wants to provide for current and future students.

“The generous gift from the Rey Foundation not only provided needed funds for student scholarships, it also, and maybe more importantly, reconnected Bethel with an alum that told a story of God’s faithfulness through Bethel,” says Barb Bellefeuille, Ed.D., interim president of the university.

More specifically, it will:

  • Increase the impact of the Mely & Rick Rey Foundation Endowment Fund (which currently supports students with financial need, international students and chemistry majors);
  • Expand international student and staff support, providing operational and personnel funding exclusively for the international student program;
  • Provide funding for current Bethel scholarships, which are necessary to reduce student debt, and;
  • Provide funds to replace a critical piece of chemistry lab equipment – a new autoclave which is used in most teaching laboratory settings.

“We're so grateful for the donation of the autoclave because it is an essential part of a biology lab!” says Jana McLean, Ph.D., dean of arts and sciences. “[It] allows us to work with all types of microbes, whether it's teaching nursing students about antibiotic-resistance in bacteria or performing scientific research with yeast.”

McLean explains that an autoclave is an essential part of a biology lab, used for sterilizing the medium used to grow bacteria and fungi, protecting experiments from contaminants and cleaning up biohazardous waste left over from experiments.

When reflecting on the impact of the gift for the university, Interim President Barb Bellefeuille, Ed.D., states that it is a testament to God’s faithfulness.

“We have been reminded of how Bethel supported Rick when he had no other help. Rick then flourished in his profession as a chemist, and then the Reys chose to give back to Bethel. It’s a sweet reminder of how God works and how God blesses faithfulness!” Bellefeuille says. “The generous gift from the Rey Foundation not only provides needed funds for student scholarships, it also, and maybe more importantly, reconnected Bethel with an alum who told a story of God’s faithfulness through Bethel."

About Specialty Products and Polymers

Specialty Products and Polymers provides silicone compounds used in high temperature applications. Phenyl grades of silicone have outstanding low temperature performance, fluorosilicone offers the highest possible level of chemical and fuel resistance, and fluoroelastomer (FKM) is a high-performance polymer for use in demanding applications.



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