rechnitzes-032611Bob Rechnitz, right, with wife Joan and Two River Theater board member Paul Kaylor at Saturday night’s opening of ‘Candida.’ (Click to enlarge)

donegoodlogo rightA planned $15 million revamping of the operating rooms at Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center has gotten a big boost from a Middletown couple.

Joan and Bob Rechnitz, founders of the nonprofit Two River Theater Company, have donated $5 million to the effort, the hospital announced Monday morning.

Riverview officials called it one of the largest single gifts in the hospital’s history, and said a portion of the funds would be used to construct a conference and educational center designed to attract “superior surgeons with niche specialties” to lectures and symposiums.

Reached at home, where he was perusing reviews of his theater company’s latest production, ‘Candida,’ Bob Rechnitz said he and his wife had never made a donation that large, and “thought for a long time” about keeping it anonymous.

“But we were lectured by [RMC CEO] Tim Hogan and others that the value of a gift like this is that it can help bring in other donations,” Rechnitz tells redbankgreen.

“I realize this is a pretty major gift, but my preference is simply to say it and get on with it,” says the normally voluble Rechnitz, a retired English lit professor.