URI Alumni Association announces excellence
To be honored by University at luncheon June 3
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 12, 2000 -- The University of Rhode Island Alumni
Association has announced the 15 recipients of its annual Alumni Excellence
Among the award winners are teachers, business executives and dedicated
volunteers. All will be honored during a luncheon Saturday, June 3 from
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the lawn of the home of URI President Robert L. Carothers.
Cost is $20 per person. Reservations are required by May 25, and can be
made by calling 401-874-2242.
The categories and the recipients follow.
Contribution to the Arts
Donna S. Wieters, M.B.A. '93, is the president and founder
of Scenic Arts, Inc., Design, Production, and Marketing Services in Wakefield,
R.I. The company provides design and production for television, feature
films, and theatre; museum and exhibit design and fabrication; visual merchandising
and display; and prototype creation. Scenic Arts projects have included
Mermaids, Steel Magnolias, Suspect, Spencer for Hire, Pelican
Brief, and The World According to Us. Her company designed the
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibit, Daniel's Story: Remember the
Children, now touring the country.
Contribution to Business
Frank J. Feraco '69, who chaired URI's Annual Fund
in 199899, is president of Textron's $4.2 billion Industrial Products
Segment, which includes Fluid and Power Systems; Golf, Turf Care, and Specialty
Products; Industrial Components; Light Construction Equipment; and Tools
and Technology. The Barrington, R.I. resident formerly held senior
positions at Kohler Co., Emerson Electric Co., Danaher Corp., and Sunbeam
Corp. He is a member of the board of directors of DZM Inc.; Toolz, Inc.;
and the Celebrity Tournament Players Association, and is chairman of the
American Hardware Manufacturers Association.
Contribution to Community Service
Kathleen L. Vespia '74, M.A. '76, is the coordinator of
the Network Program, an alternative program for at-risk high school students
in Attleboro, Mass. Vespia was instrumental in designing the
Network Program, which has received astounding success primarily due to
her involvement, skill in developing programs and staff, and talents in
working with difficult populations. Vespia lives in East Greenwich, R.I.,
where she volunteers for a local dance company and helped re-establish the
Greenwich Theatre as a center for performing arts.
Contribution to Education
Crandall W. "Randy" Dimock '71, M.S. '75, a physics
teacher at South Kingstown High School, has won a Milken Family Foundation
National Educator Award. If his students tell you Dimock keeps them
on pins and needles, they aren't fibbing. In one memorable demonstration,
the West Kingston, R.I. resident has a plank of nails placed on his
bare chest, a few books are piled on top, and then a student hammers the
books. Because of the time the blow takes to travel through the books and
then the lumber, Dimock is unhurt.
Denise E. Frederick '69 is the first teacher in North Kingstown,
R.I., to receive a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
A social studies teacher in the North Kingstown School Department for 11
years, the Narragansett, R.I. resident is involved in the Rhode Island
Geography Education Alliance and in the Teachers in Technology Program.
Her classes developed two projects for the Web: a "geomystery"
featuring clues on the history of North Kingstown, and a program that uses
the Geographic Information Systems, which were digitized at URI.
John E. Sirmalis, Ph.D. '75, is technical director of the
Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. He guides the operations
of NUWC's two major divisions with activities on the East Coast headquartered
at Newport and West Coast activities headquartered in Keyport, Wash. The
Barrington, R.I. resident exercises technical direction of the center's
national leadership responsibilities, including undersea warfare modeling
and analysis, submarine combat systems, submarine and surface ship sonar,
submarine electronic warfare, submarine unique communications systems, and
undersea weapons systems.
Contribution to Research
Kwok K. Yeung, Ph.D. '79, the senior director of Diagnostics
Oncology, Bayer Corp., and a leading researcher in the field of clinical
chemistry, has lectured for URI's Department of Chemistry seminar series
and facilitated the donation of almost $500,000 worth of new or barely used
scientific equipment to the University. The Ridgefield, Conn. resident
recently helped establish internships for students in URI's International
Engineering Program. He has also established a scholarship for graduate
students in biochemistry and serves on the Arts and Sciences Advisory Council.
Contribution to Science and Technology
Michael A. Fischer '73, chief test engineer for Fire Production
Products at Grinnell Corp.'s Research and Development Center, has received
13 United States patents and multiple foreign patents. The West Kingston,
R.I. resident developed benchmark devices in fire protection and fostered
new codes and standards for the National Fire Protection Association and
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. The United States Fire Administration and
the National Institute of Standards and Technology chose his designs as
the only viable option in their class. Fischer was responsible for the first
residential fire protection sprinkler.
Ram Award-The highest tribute to an individual who has over
an extended period of time dedicated his efforts to the Alumni Association
and URI as a whole.
Stephen M. Lombardi '74: When he was president of the Alumni Association,
Lombardi helped establish affinity chapters, improved government relations,
and helped develop University outreach programs. He is currently a member
of the Alumni Golf Tournament Committee and a URI Foundation trustee. A
former member of the College of Business Advisory Council, he serves on
the Marketing Department's Visitors Committee. The firm of Landes Lombardi
Associates, of which Lombardi is a partner with Steve Landes '69,
is a sponsor of the Great Performances concert series.
Henry B. Abajian '38, of Port Charlotte, Fla., has
held several important positions in the Southwest Florida Gators Alumni
Chapter and has helped with every event. From printing attendance lists
to final cleanup, "he has served the Gators throughout these years
as a teacher and mentor," said Chapter President James Burke '51.
"He has always been there to give advice and offer guidance for improving
our chapter, which I have accepted." The Alumni Relations staff echo
Burke's words, saying Abajian is a consummate team player and a major URI
Richard F. "Dick" Donnelly, M.A. '68: A former Rhode
Island public school teacher who spent 37 years in Portsmouth, R.I.,
Donnelly always found creative ways to share his enthusiasm for science
and the environment with his students. Now retired, he volunteers with the
Southern Rhode Island Conservation District, the Rhode Island Wild Plant
Society, and the Rhode Island Jonnycake Society. A regular participant in
URI's Greenshare Days, the Saunderstown, R.I. resident serves as
Jonnycake chef for the annual Friends of Oceanography auctions and is a
docent for the "Living on the Edge" exhibit at URI's Coastal Institute
Gary W. Kullberg '63: Whether helping to develop the recruiting
booklet for URI's College of Business Administration, serving as vice chair
of COBA's Advisory Council, working with the New York Metro Chapter, or
having a client manufacture the University's lace tablecloth, Kullberg is
dedicated to URI. When the North Kingstown, R.I. resident donated
6,000 rare coins to the COBA in his father's memory last year, Kullberg
commented, "my father gave so much to me, and I want to link his generosity
to a University that gave me so much." He is a native of White Plains,
Phillip Kydd '81, the past president of the Alumni Association
and a former co-captain of the Rhody basketball team, Kydd currently serves
on the Green Hall Renovation Committee, the Convocation Center Steering
Committee, the University Master Plan Executive Advisory Committee, the
Engineering Advisory Council, the Alumni Nominating Committee, and the Rhode
Island Rams Athletic Association's Board of Directors. The Warwick, R.I.
resident is a key organizer of Winter Homecoming and a URI Foundation trustee.
Kydd is also a founding member of a $24 million University Transportation
Jeanne M. Anderson became part of the University community
when her daughter, Christine Anderson, M.A. '74, was a graduate student.
When Anderson retired, she moved from New York to Wakefield, R.I. In
1996 she became a volunteer and board member with the Friends of Oceanography
and has recently become the group's chair. She also volunteers with the
Office of Marine Programs and its activities, including the National Ocean
Sciences Bowl and the Rhode Island JASON project.
Recent Alumnus Award
Bruce I. Parkes '95 is an engineer/field support representative
at GTECH currently field testing Lucky Scratch Probability Games for the
Rhode Island Lottery. As a mentor to current URI students, Parkes regularly
lectures on professional practices, electronic design, and point-of-sale
devices. The Cranston, R.I. resident also serves on the Industry
Advisory Board for URI's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
As an undergraduate, he belonged to the Older Student Association and served
as publicity chairman and president of the URI Student Branch of the Institute
of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
For Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116