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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 to honor 13 alumni during ceremonies June 2

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 1, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island will honor 13 graduates with its Alumni Excellence Awards during a luncheon and ceremonies on Saturday, June 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tickets are $20. For further information, call URI’s Alumni Relations Office at 401-874-2242 or visit, or email
The event will be held on the lawn of the home of URI President Robert L. Carothers.

Alumni Excellence Awards 2001
These awards are made annually to alumni who have achieved excellence in their fields or who have shown unusual support to the University and its Alumni Association. A $1,000 scholarship in the name of each recipient will be awarded to a deserving and needy student.

Contribution to Arts
Ernest Silva ’71, is an artist and professor of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. His career includes more than 40 solo and more than 100 group exhibitions throughout the country and in Denmark. A graduate of Cranston High School East, he received a fellowship in painting from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1989–90. His work is included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Oakland Museum of Art. He lives in La Jolla, California.

Contribution to Business
Mark Ross ’64 and his brother, Darrell, built Cranston-based Ross-Simons into a top retailer of fine jewelry, tableware, gifts, and collectibles with retail outlets in Rhode Island, Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, Maine, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Mark and his brother successfully expanded to include catalog sales and a Web-based business that reach millions of households around the world. Ross-Simons is the largest company of its kind in America, and although the brothers recently sold their firm, Mark has remained as vice president to help run the business. He lives in Warwick.

Contribution to Community Service
Rudy Cheeks (Bruce McCrae) ’72 has performed as a musician and MC at fund-raisers for dozens of agencies, including URI, the Community Food Bank, the Rhode Island Association for Cardiac Children, the Rhode Island Rape Crisis Center, Meeting Street School, the Episcopal Conference Center, Bradley Hospital, the Fund for Community Progress, and the Rhode Island Lung Association. When URI needed someone to host its inaugural Film Festival, the Cranston resident helped deliver a wonderful event. Cheeks co-authors "Phillipe and Jorge," a column for The Providence Phoenix and is news and features director at WFNX Radio.

Contribution to Education
Mariann Hayward ’87, M.A. ’91, a teacher at Peace Dale Elementary School in South Kingstown, has won numerous citations from national organizations for excellence in mathematics and science teaching and has been featured on ABC’s Nightline in a segment on "Robotics and Kids." She helped to design and build the nature trail at Peace Dale School and is the host and zookeeper of the school’s Robotics Zoological Park. Hayward has received the National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the prestigious Milken Award. She lives in Wakefield.

Contribution to Professional Achievement
Josepha Campinha-Bacote ’74, the president of Cincinnati-based Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates, a private consultation service, is a national expert on diversity in health care. A Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, she was recently appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the Resources for Cross-Cultural Health Care to serve on its National Advisory Committee. Campinha-Bacote was the College of Nursing’s Alumna of the Year in 2000. She is a resident of Blue Ash, Ohio.

Cuttino R. Mobley ’98 helped lead the Rams to the Elite 8 in the 1998 NCAA Tournament and was then picked up by the Houston Rockets in the second round of the NBA draft. Now in his third season, Mobley has established himself as an NBA standout, averaging 19.7 points per game earlier this year. He has become one of the best free-throw shooters in the league and on the team with a percentage of .829. None of this should come as a surprise for those who followed the 1997–98 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, one of the greatest ever to play for the Rams.

Contribution to Research
Craig A. Rosen ’79, Ph.D. ’83, is executive vice president of research and development for Human Genome Sciences, Inc., a company that develops products to predict, prevent, detect, treat, and cure disease based on an understanding of human and microbial genes. An adjunct professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University, the Laytonsville, Md. resident has authored more than 130 scientific articles. He was one of two URI alumni featured in an article, "Leading the Charge Against AIDS," published in URI’s Alumni Quarterly. Rosen was then a post-doctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School under the direction of William Haseltine, now chairman and CEO of Human-Genome Sciences.

Contribution to Science and Technology
Daniel L. Harple Jr. ’86 is chairman, CEO, and president of Context Media, Inc. The Providence-based Internet start-up raised $36 million in just nine months last year, making it the greatest recipient of venture capital in Rhode Island history. Harple is a former senior vice president at Netscape Communications Corp. Always exploring ways to help people share digital information, Harple merged his own company, InSoft, with Netscape in 1996, creating Context Media. The company helps people create, publish, and share information seamlessly across multiple digital platforms, including the Web. He lives in South Dartmouth, Mass.

Presidential Award
Leo F. DiMaio Jr. ’80 is the recently retired director of URI’s Special Programs for Talent Development. Known affectionately as "Mr. D," over the past 30 years DiMaio’s innovative leadership has proven that one man can make a difference and help ensure the success of disadvantaged students. This former Adult Correctional Institutions official is legendary for his tough love approach with students. Talent Development’s new director, Gerald Williams ’92, M.A. 2000, is a testament to the DiMaio method, for Williams was himself a Talent Development student mentored by Mr. D. DiMaio lives in Cranston.

Ram Award
Robert Russell ’75, founder of Rusco Steel Co. in Warwick, makes no secret of the fact that URI has one of the top business schools in the country. In fact, he and friend Alan Wasserman ’75, both College of Business Administration graduates, made a joint pledge to the Ballentine Hall Shareholders Campaign to refurbish a classroom. Russell has also served on the Executive Advisory Board for the Special Programs for Talent Development, the Fastbreak Club, the Rhode Island Rams Athletic Association, the Alumni Association Executive Board, and the Board of Trustees for the URI Foundation. He lives in East Greenwich.

Recent Alumnus Award
Lawrence M. Modder ’94 is a top salesman for Breakaway Solutions, an Internet consulting business, and a prominent advocate for URI in the New York City area. A student activist who was voted URI Greek Man of the Year in 1994, Modder’s ties to URI remain strong. He has spent seven years as an alumni admissions representative recruiting students in the tri-state area. He has also been a New York Alumni Chapter leader, is currently a member of the annual Alumni Golf Tournament Committee, and plans to join the first annual Young Alum Gala committee. He is a resident of Tuxedo, N.Y.

Service Award
Marie Arnone Kurmin ’85 says her experience as a textiles and fashion merchandising major was so positive that she feels compelled to give back to her alma mater. That’s why she has been an alumni admissions representative since 1986 and for six years coordinated all alumni rep schedules for Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. And while the Marshfield, Mass. resident is no longer serving as a coordinator, choosing to spend more time with her husband, Peter Kurmin ’86, and their three children, she continues to represent URI at college fairs in southern Massachusetts.

Honorary Alumna
Barbara A. Bateman, the secretary of the Southwest Florida Gators Alumni Chapter, has been called the heart of the organization. Bateman and her husband, Alfred ’59, joined the Gators in 1995, and she became secretary in 1996. A native of Providence who grew up in Lincoln, R.I., Bateman graduated from The Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket in 1957 and worked in various nursing positions for the Department of Mental Health, Kent County Hospital, the Memorial Hospital, and Heritage Hills Nursing Centre. She and her husband now live in Naples, Fla.

For Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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