In Memoriam

Bennington College Mourns the Passing of Trustee Richard Ader

Richard AderWith heavy hearts, Bennington College’s Board of Trustees mourns the passing of Trustee Richard Ader and offers heartfelt condolences to Pamela, his wife of 58 years; his children; and their families. He passed away on September 1. 

“Richard was an extraordinary businessman; a lifelong athlete; a devoted husband, father, and grandfather; and a generous supporter of the causes he loved,” said Bennington College President Laura R. Walker. “He had a great impact in steering Bennington College over the past several years, and we will miss his thoughtful guidance.” 

Ader’s father passed away when he was just 15, and Ader received a scholarship to study banking and finance, and play basketball at the University of Vermont in Burlington. A banker in the neighborhood where he grew up paid for his living expenses during a few years of college. The kindness he received from others inspired a life of charitable giving. 

After college, Ader served in the National Guard. He worked in the corporate real estate net lease industry. In 1989, he founded U.S. Realty Advisors, LLC. 

In adulthood, Ader discovered tennis. He represented the United States tennis team at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, where he medaled and served as a co-captain for 16 years. He spent a lot of time working to introduce others to the sport.

Ader moved to Bennington part time in the mid-1990s and made significant contributions to the community. He opened the Bennington Tennis Center and founded Bennington Aces, a National Junior Tennis & Learning organization, which provides tennis instruction, academic tutoring, and nutritional guidance to 300 local kids. The program’s summer camp is located on the Bennington College campus.

“Serving underserved children is exposing them to other options in life,” Ader was quoted as having said in an article just after having been honored at the U.S. Tennis Association’s U.S. Open Gala in 2018. “It helps them evolve and become more knowledgeable about going to college as well as giving them a lifetime sport. That combination is outstanding.” 

After a traumatic cardiac event, Ader spent many months recovering. He had to relearn how to get out of bed and how to walk. He compiled the lessons from his success in business, sports, relationships, and recovery from the medical event in a book called, How to Rally: Wisdom from a Life Spent Beating the Odds. The book stresses the value of competition and the support of a good team.

“He was a person who was determined to give back, because he recognized that when he had a need, people were willing to help him,” said Sandra Foster, the Executive Director of Bennington Aces. “Richard always looked for positive changes in the community. He knew that it made each of us a better person.”

Ader is a member of the UVM Athletic Hall of Fame. He has been honored with many awards, including the Founder’s Service Award from National Junior Tennis and Learning. He received the Net Lease Executive of the Year Award, the Legend Award from Commercial Property News in 2011, and the Icon Award from Real Estate Forum in 2012.