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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Alumni Association announces excellence
award recipients
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 Awards.

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.

Professional Achievement

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.

Service Award

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 booster.

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 Visitor Center.

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, N.Y.

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 Center.

Honorary Alumna

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

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