CVS head, URI alum Tom Ryan boosts
Convocation Center funding with surprise $1 million gift
KINGSTON. R.I. -- May 23, 2000 -- Thomas M. Ryan, chairman and chief
executive officer of CVS Corporation and a 1975 URI alum, surprised guests
at the University of Rhode Island Foundation Ball held on Saturday, May
20, with the announcement of a $1 million personal gift to the URI Convocation
Ryan announced the gift from him and his wife, Cathy, during his remarks
to the more than 375 URI supporters at the event. The gift represents the
second $1 million personal contribution made to the campaign; the first
was made by Bradford R. Boss, chairman of A.T. Cross at the campaign kick-off
in February 1999. The largest gift to the campaign so far was $3 million
from the CVS Corporation, which was also announced by Ryan in 1999.
"I am grateful for the top-notch education I received at URI, and
am happy to be able to give back with this kind of support," said Ryan
who serves the University as co-chair, with Gov. Lincoln Almond, of the
Blue Ribbon Steering Committee and chair of the Leadership Gifts Committee
for the URI Convocation Center. "The athletic, academic, and cultural
events that will be held at the Convocation Center will enhance student
life at the University and enrich the entire community."
"We are so appreciative of this gift from Tom and Cathy, and of
their ongoing efforts in support of our students, faculty, and the University
as a whole," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "Tom's confidence
in and support for the Convocation Center project strengthens our belief
that this is the right time for this endeavor. He is an extraordinary person,
and his commitment to his alma mater is equally extraordinary."
The URI Foundation's annual ball, that each year raises funds for student
scholarships, this year also honored major donors to the Convocation Center
Now just over one year into the three-year campaign, the Division of
University Advancement, led by Vice President Robert M. Beagle, has raised
more than $9 million, which is 60 percent of the overall $15 million private
The $54 million Convocation Center project is the largest building endeavor
ever at URI. The Convocation Center will host major University events, such
as convocation ceremonies, basketball games and other athletic contests,
alumni events, concerts and major cultural events. The overall project includes
a separate $12 million ice skating facility.
To accommodate events scheduled for this summer at URI athletics facilities,
construction for the Convocation Center is expected to commence in fall
2000. The University has planned an event on July 13, in conjunction with
the demolition of the football stands located west of Meade Stadium. Formal
groundbreaking ceremonies will be held during Homecoming celebrations on
Oct. 14, 2000. The Convocation Center will open its doors for its first
event in fall 2002.
One of the University's most distinguished and supportive alumni, Ryan
joined CVS as a pharmacist in 1975 and has held a number of managerial and
professional positions in the company. In 1994 he was named president and
CEO of CVS Pharmacy, Inc., and in 1998 he was appointed to his current position.
Throughout his meteoric rise in the nation's largest pharmacy chain,
Ryan, a 1975 graduate of URI's College of Pharmacy, has maintained strong
connections with the University. Through his advocacy, CVS has funded scholarships
for pharmacy students, aided students in traveling to national and regional
professional meetings, and supported some of the College's successful continuing
education programs for Rhode Island's registered pharmacists. Most recently,
Ryan's personal efforts and contributions led to the creation of the Thomas
M. Ryan/CVS Chair in Community Pharmacy. Ryan was awarded an honorary Doctor
of Humane Letters in 1999.
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