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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

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 Center Campaign.

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 Campaign.

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 fundraising goal.

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.

For More Information:
Linda Acciardo,, 401-874-2116 or
Jhodi Redlich,, 401-874-2116

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