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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

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


Head of international arm of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC
is honorary chair of URI Winter Gala
Elegant night of dining, dancing
set for Saturday, Feb. 1, 2003


KINGSTON, R.I. -- November 22, 2002 -- The president of Yum Restaurants International, the umbrella organization that oversees operations of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell, is the honorary chair of the University of Rhode Island Winter Gala, the major fund-raising event for the Alumni Association.

Providence native Pete Bassi, a 1970 graduate of URI who also earned his master’s in business administration from the University, will preside over the festivities on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Crowne Plaza at the Crossings Warwick.

A special VIP Pre-Gala Reception will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with the gala scheduled from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Bassi is credited with making Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut hotter than McDonald's in many major international markets. A member of the URI College of Business Administration Hall of Fame and a former URI CEO Leadership Forum speaker, he is a major proponent of the company’s employee focus because it leads to great results.

"We're into reward and recognition, because recognition works anywhere in the world," Bassi said. We take our top restaurant managers in the world and their families to Disney World where we provide limousines and round-the-clock translators. It's a rather significant expenditure, but it's important."

"URI is proud of Pete, who exemplifies the quality of our alumni," said Gala Committee co-chair Mark Davis of East Greenwich. "We're also delighted that Pete agreed to serve as honorary chair, since he has been so warmly received during other visits to URI and because he brings his own unique enthusiasm to the Alumni Association’s most important fund-raiser."

Since the gala’s inception, more than $500,000 has been raised for URI alumni scholarships and grant programs.

At the gala, which is being held at the Crowne Plaza for the first time, the band Sure Thing will provide music. Among the prizes to be auctioned at the gala will be: a Monday Night football package, walk-on role in a Cardi’s commercial, weeklong vacation at Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Rhody the Ram for a day.

Pre-Gala Reception Reservation: Arrive at 6 p.m. and be greeted by the music of one of URI’s premier student ensembles. Enjoy fabulous hors d'oeuvres and a full open bar. Preview the array of silent and live auction items, and open the bidding.

Gala Reservation: Arrive at 7 p.m. and catch up with friends or visit the auction tables. Cheese and crackers and a cash bar will be available, followed by an elegant dinner and dancing.

Pre-Gala reception and Gala reservation: $175 per person Gala only: $100 per person ($75 for graduates of the past decade--1992-2002) Seats and tables will not be reserved without payment. Seating is limited, so respond early for this popular event. To receive an invitation/reservation form, please call 401-874-2242.

Make a Weekend of It. Spend Friday and/or Saturday at the Crowne Plaza at a reduced Winter Gala rate of $95 per night. For hotel reservations, please call the Crowne Plaza at the Crossings at 401-732-6000. To receive the reduced rate, you must mention the URI Winter Gala and reserve no later than January 2, 2003.

Have A Great Evening and Support Student Scholarships.

Alumni are asked to consider a Winter Gala corporate sponsorship or a donation to our silent or live auction. All sponsors and donors receive mention in the evening’s program. Corporate sponsorship levels begin at $2,500 and include 10 Pre-Gala and Gala reservations.

Sponsorship Levels
Gold: $10,000
Silver: $5,000
Bronze: $3,500
Dean’s List: $2,500

For more information about Gala sponsorship, contact Becky Ebeling in the Alumni Relations Office at 401-874-4854 or rebeling@advance.uri.edu.

For information and for special accommodations or questions about accessibility, call the alumni office at 874-2242 by Jan. 30.

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File last updated: Friday, November 22, 2002

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