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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

Former PPG Industries CEO donates $1 million
to URI's Ballentine Hall project
Donation brings campaign to 92 percent of goal

KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 8, 2000 -- The former chief of PPG Industries Inc. said the University of Rhode Island opened the world to him and his family, and now he has made a $1 million donation that will help future URI students compete in their rapidly changing world.

The gift from former Cranston and Providence resident Vincent A. Sarni will help transform Ballentine Hall into a top-flight business education facility.

With the donation, URI has now raised $5.2 million, or 92 percent, of the $5.6 million Shareholders Campaign goal to renovate the home of its College of Business Administration, the state's oldest nationally accredited business college. Built in 1967, the facility will gain a 10,000-square-foot addition, and will be completely renovated both on the interior and exterior.

Vincent Sarni, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of PPG Industries Inc., a leading global manufacturer based in Pittsburgh, Pa., is a 1949 accounting graduate of the former Rhode Island State College.

"Such a gift is a very significant one for the Ballentine Hall project, and because of that gift and others that Vin has already made to the University, we are proud to name the new wing of the building the Vincent A. Sarni Wing," said URI President Robert L. Carothers.

The Sarni Wing will be three stories high and will house the dean's office, the dean's suite, department chair offices, and the College of Business Administration Executive Conference Room on the third floor, as well as classrooms and offices on the two lower floors. A plaque in Sarni's honor will be affixed at the Executive MBA classroom.

The entire Sarni Wing will be identified on the front of the building facing the Quadrangle on the Kingston Campus, and at the new North Garden entry.

Sarni, who has generously supported student scholarships and URI's first Capital Campaign, said he is indebted to the University for the opportunities it provided him and his family. Born in Bayonne, N.J. in 1928, the son of immigrant parents, he moved to Rhode Island when his father relocated to work in Providence. Sarni is a graduate of Providence's Classical High School.

Since the Sarni family beginnings in Rhode Island, eight family members have now graduated from URI including his brothers, Lawrence, a chemical engineer; Robert, a Cranston physician; and his daughter, Louise, a Narragansett Pier School physical education teacher.

"There are eight of us who feel gratitude to the University for what it did for us," Sarni said. "URI has had a lasting impact on me, so I feel good about doing whatever I can to help the University."

Sarni is also continuing to work with University officials in helping to fund the proposed alumni/advancement center to be constructed on the Kingston Campus. Sarni is extremely excited about this proposal and the future benefits it will bring to URI.

He maintains that people, more than facilities make the difference in students' lives. ''But hopefully, with the planned improvements, the students and the professors there will have better tools and an environment for people to do a good job.

"I don't believe in monuments. I feel the resources should be dedicated to learning," he added.

"Vin Sarni's donation will also help the University reach a combined $2 million private fund-raising goal for both the Ballentine and Green Hall building projects," said Robert M. Beagle, vice president for University Advancement.

Last fall, the Kresge Foundation awarded the University a $500,000 Kresge Challenge Grant, with the condition that URI raise $2 million for the two building projects by March 2001. The challenge period was for just over 16 months, and after only seven months, the University has raised $1.27 million or 67.5 percent toward the goal.

"I'm delighted that we can now recognize and honor Vin's many contributions to American and international business, and in so doing we can advance the Ballentine project and meet the requirements of the Kresge Challenge Grant," Carothers said. "What more could a university president ask for!"

Sarni retired from PPG Industries in August 1993, concluding a 25-year career with the company. He served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer from 1984 until his retirement. Sarni retired at age 70 from the PPG Industries Board of Directors.

During his time at PPG Industries Inc., he headed a world leader in providing innovative materials for manufacturing, construction, automotive, chemical processing and numerous other global industries. PPG operates about 110 major manufacturing sites and seven research and development facilities worldwide. It is a leading producer of automobile coatings and windshields, and also produces well-known and respected consumer products such as Olympic Stains, Pittsburgh Paints, and "Transitions" eyewear.

Sarni, who lives in the Pittsburgh area, and in Florida, returns to Rhode Island in the summer months to spend time with his brothers and family and get in two or three games of golf at point Judith Country Club where he is a long-time member. He continues to serve on the boards of LTV Steel, DLJ and the Mueller Holding Co.

He previously served as a director until age 70 on the boards of the Brockway Corp., Honeywell Corp., Mellon Bank, PNC Bank, Hershey Food Corp. and Amtrol Corp.

He is most proud of his work as a board member of the Extra Mile, a Pittsburgh business effort originally established to keep three inner-city Catholic schools open. The schools were struggling financially because of a declining Catholic presence in the city. But they were providing top-flight education to their students, 90 percent of whom were multicultural and who were not Catholic. Sarni was among a number of business leaders who came together to keep the schools open, and add another to the project.

"Our cost per student is about one quarter the cost of what it costs the city to educate a student, and yet our student performance is outstanding," Sarni said. "I have been involved in a number of charitable organizations, but this is the most rewarding activity in which I have ever been involved because like URI we can make a difference in a kid's' life."

Sarni said there are similarities to what he helped accomplish in Pittsburgh and what he is helping to attain here at URI. "I met Bob Carothers before he came to URI, and I have maintained a relationship with him. I have watched the University grow in terms of its quality and its environment. If I weren't happy with the way the school was heading, I would not be making this kind of a commitment."

Sarni was among the first group of individuals inducted into the URI College of Business Administration's Hall of Fame in April 1999. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from URI in 1985.

The Sarni announcement comes just three weeks after Thomas M. Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVS Corp., announced he was making a $1 million donation to the URI Convocation Center Campaign.

Sarni's donation is among several major donations to the Ballentine Shareholders Campaign. Among the other donations are:

$1.5 million from the Hasbro Inc. family and Alfred J. 'Al" Verrecchia, president of Global Operations for Hasbro.

$300,000 from Textron Inc.

$250,000 from Richard J. "Dick" Harrington, president and chief executive officer of The Thomson Corp., and chair of the Shareholders Campaign.

$250,000 from American Airlines and Robert L. Crandall, who retired as American's chairman and chief executive officer in 1998.

$100,000 from Carnival Corp., and Howard S. Frank, its vice chairman and chief operating officer.

$75,000 from Tony Rose, president and chief executive officer of Technical Industries Inc., Peace Dale.

$50,000 from Amica Insurance.Inc.

-XXX-

For Information: Robert M. Beagle 401-874-2291,
Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116



 

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