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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 Convocation Center Campaign edges over $10 million mark as University breaks ground on project

Campaign gets boost from Narragansett Electric and individual donors

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 14, 2000 -- As the University of Rhode Island breaks ground on the largest building endeavor in its 108-year history, officials also have notched another milestone in the companion fund-raising effort for the $54 million Convocation Center.

During the official groundbreaking ceremony and celebration today, Thomas M. Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVS Corporation and co-chair of the campaign's Blue Ribbon Steering Committee, announced that as of Oct. 6, the University had raised $10,121,824, or 67.5 percent of its $15 million fund-raising goal.

"In just the three months since the Meade Field House demolition event held in July, the University has received 26 new gifts," said Ryan. "This kind of response to a campaign that started only 21 months ago is a strong endorsement of the support for this important and exciting project."

To date, 171 donors have pledged or given to the Convocation Center Campaign, including 22 with gifts at or above the $100,000 level and another 54 of $10,000 or more.

"Attending basketball games at Keaney Gym is truly a URI tradition; when I was a student here, I would cheer on the Rams on our homecourt," said Governor Lincoln Almond. "Over the years we have gone from Rodman Hall to the Keaney era, to this new chapter we begin today a modern Convocation Center. We've seen dramatic changes at URI. In the 1950s, the student enrollment was 2000. Today it's more than 14,000. We have to keep this outstanding institution competitive. Investing in this state-of-the-art facility is helping us achieve that goal."

Top leadership gifts made to the Campaign since July include three $100,000 gifts, one from Narragansett Electric, a personal gift from Edward and Marilynn Bouclin of East Greenwich, and one from a donor who wished to remain unnamed.

"Narragansett Electric is pleased to be able to reinforce its long-term commitment to Rhode Island by supporting this important project at Rhode Island's state university. We view the new Convocation Center as a facility that will not only help the University to continue to attract talented students, but will also enrich the lives of Rhode Islanders in South County and beyond by providing a much-needed venue for large-scale events," said Narragansett Electric Executive Vice President Michael F. Ryan.

"The Convocation Center can have a similar impact on the University and South County as a whole as did the airport for the state of Rhode Island," said Bouclin, who attended the University. "While you always donate from the heart, sometimes you also donate to an organization or project because you believe the impact will be substantial and make a difference. This is one of the reasons why we have given."

"We are very grateful to supporters, like Ed and Marilynn Bouclin, and to corporations like Narragansett Electric, who truly see themselves as partners in building a critical new piece of the University's landscape," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "This project has been warmly received by so many, and upon its completion it will become a vital facility for the University and the Rhode Island community at large.

The Convocation Center Campaign officially got under way in February 1999 at a press conference at the Statehouse. Since that time, fund-raising goals set have met or surpassed expectations that were based on a comprehensive feasibility study conducted in 1997 by Brailsford & Dunlavey, Washington, D.C.

Financing for the $54 million Convocation Center project includes the $15 million in private donations, $18 million in state appropriations and $21 million in revenue bonds. The project also calls for a separate $12 million ice rink. The state is providing $5 million in appropriations for the ice rink.

URI long ago outgrew its largest venue, Keaney Gymnasium, which was completed in 1953 for a student body of 2,183. The University now enrolls about 10,700 undergraduate and 3,600 graduate students, and has about 2,500 employees.

For Information: Linda Acciardo, 401-874-2116, Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500


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