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The Clark Planetarium was made possible by $900,000 raised as part of "Reach for the Stars", Shawnee State University's second capital campaign. The effort raised $5.9 million in cash and deferred gifts, $5 million of which form an endowment for the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
The funds for the planetarium purchased the original equipment - the Digestar II - which made the facility possible. The remaining funds form an endowment to help ensure its continued vibrancy and vitality. Mrs. Clyde (Maycel) Clark was the principal donor and gave the funds in memory of her husband Clyde Clark. Other donors gave gifts as small as $1.00 and as large as thousands. Some are sponsors of months in the facility and are honored with the stars that are outside on the round shell.
Mr. Clark was born in 1896 in Marietta and along with William A. Burke and James B. Miller purchased controlling interest in the then named Ohio Stove Company (now OSCO). Clark was the chief financial officer from 1943 and served on the board until his death in 1975. Mrs. Clark, deeply devoted to her husband, donated funds to Shawnee State to name both the planetarium and the Clark Memorial Library to ensure that the Clark name is remembered long into the future.
In 2005, the Clark Planetarium became the first planetarium in the country to upgrade its system from the Digistar II to its current Konica Minolta Mediaglobe I/II hybrid system. The new Mediaglobe II system allows the Planetarium to display full dome video and explore the solar system and the galaxy by lifting off of earth and going to the heavens.