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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

Warm up with URI hoop teams,
alumni awards at University’s
Winter Homecoming Feb. 8, 9

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 23, 2003 -- Take in the University of Rhode Island’s hot hoop teams, the Alumni Association Achievement Awards ceremonies and honor former URI basketball players during Winter Homecoming Feb. 8 and 9.

The action begins Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. with the awards dinner at the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame in the Feinstein Building on Route 138. Awards will be presented to alumni and friends for contributions to the arts, business and science, as well as for service to the Alumni Association. Honorary awards will also be given.

The ceremonies will also pay tribute to members of URI basketball teams that won berths in the NCAA tourney, including the 1995-96 women’s and 1987-88 and 1997-98 men’s basketball teams. Following the awards, the men’s team, which is off to its hottest start in four years, plays at 7:30 p.m. The women’s team, which is also off to a strong start, plays Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. Both games are at the Ryan Center.

Tickets for the alumni awards dinner are $20 and include complimentary tickets to both basketball games.

Those wishing to attend should call Lisa Harrison at 401-874-4962 or email her at before Feb. 1.

Note to editors—Please see short biographies below on award recipients from your circulation areas. Hometowns are highlighted in bold face. However, some hometowns are not included at the request of the recipient.


The Alumni Achievement Awards are presented to alumni who have achieved excellence in the following fields: arts, business, community service, education, professional achievement, research, and science and technology. A $1,000 scholarship in each recipient’s name will be awarded to a student on the basis of merit and need.

Contribution to the Arts
Frederick Stern, Ph.D. ’66
Educated in the engineering sciences, Frederick Stern served as Associate Professor of Art at Pratt Institute, New York University and the University of Maryland and is the recipient of five awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Stern is internationally known for creating rainbows as metaphors for world peace and global unity. He pumps water into the air, which refracts the sun's light to create natural rainbows as wide as 2,000 feet. Some of his more than 40 rainbows include those he created for the opening of the Hague Appeal for Peace, the UN-sponsored Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and an Arab-Israeli peace conference in Israel and Gaza. In 1996 he created a rainbow over the United Nations Building, raising the planet's flag above the flags of all nations. Stern, who organized freedom rides to the South as a URI student, now expresses his political voice through his art.

Contribution to Business
Nancy McKinstry ’80
Nancy McKinstry is a member of the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer nv. Her portfolio includes Legal, Tax & Business North America and Technology. Prior to assuming her present position, McKinstry was Chief Executive Officer of SCP Communications. Before that, she held a succession of senior positions with CCH, including President and Chief Executive Officer of CCH Legal Information Services, Vice President of Product Management and Senior Officer and Assistant Vice President of the Electronics Products Division of CCH Incorporated. Prior to this she held several management positions with Booz, Allen & Hamilton and the New England Telephone Company. McKinstry holds an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Rhode Island. In addition to her business accomplishments, McKinstry serves on URI’s Dean’s External Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Sciences. She also established an endowed scholarship to support students majoring in economics at the University.

Contribution to Community Service
Victor F. Capellan ’92, M.S. ’96
Victor Capellan is a catalyst for improving communities in Rhode Island and beyond. Hired by the New York City Department of Education in December, he was formerly the facilitator for student registration for the Providence School Department. Capellan’s community service activities would exhaust most people. An Eagle Scout who forged a reputation as a leader while a student at URI, he serves as the chairman for the Rhode Island Housing Mortgage and Finance Corp., and as board president of the Center for Hispanic Policy & Advocacy. He is also a board member of the Providence Public Library, Amos House, and Rhode Island Hospital. He was a panelist for "Bridges to the Future: Building Community in Rhode Island," which was part of the University of Rhode Island's 2000 Honors Colloquium series, "Nonviolence: Legacies of the Past, Bridges to the Future." He was chosen one of the Top Ten to Watch in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly magazine.

Contribution to Education
Janice S. O’Donnell ’79
Janice O’Donnell, executive director of the Providence Children’s Museum since 1985, has been instrumental in leading Child Magazine to call the museum one of the top 20 in the country. She oversees an organization that has more than 125,000 visitors annually, an operating budget in excess of $1.5 million and 30 staff members. The Barrington resident also oversaw the successful completion of a $3 million capital campaign, which allowed the museum to open its much larger operation in Providence’s Jewelry District. O’Donnell has implemented many innovative programs during her tenure, including Families Together, a nationally recognized visitation program for families who have been separated by court order. Under her leadership, the museum has become an AmeriCorps site. Each year, 10 to 15 volunteers in this federally funded program give a year of service connecting the museum with Providence Head Start programs and inner-city community centers.

Professional Achievement
William R. Holland ’60
William Holland has been a leader throughout his 40 years in education. A secondary teacher, school administrator, and superintendent in five school districts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the first 26 years of his career, he then spent the next 11 years as a professor of education and department chair at Rhode Island College and executive director of the Rhode Island Principal’s Association. He accepted the Rhode Island higher education commissioner’s post in 1999. Currently, he is a faculty member at RIC. As commissioner, the Narragansett resident led a successful kindergarten through grade 16 initiative that focused on improved teacher quality, oversaw a $500 million higher education budget and worked closely with the three college presidents on a $500 million capital improvement program. Last spring, Holland convened a statewide conference that brought together leaders in higher education to emphasize the importance of higher education in the health of the state and nation.

Contribution to Research
Edward R. French ‘60
Researcher, teacher, administrator, and consultant of international renown in food crop production and improvement are just a few ways to describe Edward French. Armed with his URI degree in agronomy, French became a leading researcher of potato, sweet potato, and tuber crop diseases on every continent, but particularly those in tropical regions. He developed potato varieties resistant to bacterial infection. These varieties and others became important products to the tropical belt of Africa, the Americas and Asia through the efforts of the International Potato Center. He conducted research on diseases of numerous crops, such as bananas, pepper and cotton, to determine diseases and pests that were causing losses. French represented the North Carolina State University/U.S. Agency for International Development as plant pathologist to the government of Peru from 1965 through 1971. The resident of Lima, Peru, was a founding member and facilities developer of the International Potato Center.

Contribution to Science and Technology
John S. Patton, ’73, M.S.
Millions of diabetes patients who dread the multiple daily injections of insulin have John Patton to thank for relieving a great deal of that suffering. Co-founder of the 12-year-old Inhale Therapeutic Systems of San Carlos, Calif., Patton and his team developed an inhaler that effectively delivers insulin deep into the lungs. Now the company, with 700-plus employees, is collaborating on drug delivery projects with such companies as Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lilly and Pfizer, to name just a few. Patton, a resident of Portola Valley, Calif., who earned his master’s in oceanography at URI and his Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was a marine biology professor at the University of Georgia for six years. He left to join Genentech Inc. in San Francisco, where he became head of the drug delivery group. In 1990, he started Inhale Therapeutic Systems, where he is chief scientific officer and director of research. His successes have been chronicled in the San Francisco Examiner, BusinessWeek and Forbes.


The recipient of this award must have exhibited meritorious and distinguished service to the Alumni Association and the University for the last 25 years.

Warren L. Salter ’48
Warren Salter has been active on behalf of the University of Rhode Island since his days as a brother in Phi Mu Delta fraternity. Salter, a resident of Warwick, is the retired president of H. V. Allen Insurance Agency. He is past president of the URI Alumni Association, chairman of the URI Alumni Fund and class agent. He also headed the Warwick School Committee, sat on four building committees and was a member of the East Greenwich Library Board. He has also served the Lions and Rotary clubs, and the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the state House of Representatives in the early 1960s and the state board of education. Rhody Blue runs deep in Salter’s family. His wife, Ruth, is a 1946 grad and his mother-in-law is a 1917 grad. A devoted family man, Salter is proud that his three children and a granddaughter are URI graduates. He also has three great-grandchildren.


This award honors alumni who have dedicated themselves to achieving the Alumni Association’s goals. The recipients must be URI graduates and have performed this service for at least two years.

Henrique T. Pedro ‘76
From driving a carload of fellow freshmen to Madison Square Garden to see the Rams play, serving as former assistant dean of the College of Pharmacy, to his current position as president of the Rhode Island Rams Athletic Association, Henry Pedro has exhibited unwavering support for URI and its students. He has also served as chair for the faculty/staff Annual Fund campaign. Pedro, of East Greenwich, is now the director of Pharmacy Operations for the Pequot Pharmaceutical Network. To many colleagues, he is "Mr. URI" and has been a great supporter of athletics, the Alumni Association and the College of Pharmacy. A graduate of the College of Pharmacy, Pedro has placed hundreds of undergraduates in clinical experiences over the years. A registered pharmacist and past president of the Rhode Island Pharmacist Association and the Rhode Island Society of Health-System Pharmacists, he constantly emphasizes URI’s importance in the profession throughout the region.

Alan Wasserman ’75
President and treasurer of the Alumni Association, supporter of the Shareholders Campaign to transform Ballentine Hall, and executive-in-residence at the College of Business Administration are just a few of the roles Alan Wasserman has filled in service to his alma mater. On June 30, 2001, Wasserman ended the third and final year of his alumni presidency. During that time, the Providence resident rallied alumni across the state to support a bond issue to renovate the residence halls, oversaw a redesign of Quad Angles that resulted in color covers and standard magazine size, and played a major role in expanding the number of alumni chapters to 45. Since leaving the presidency, Wasserman has continued his role as a roving ambassador for URI. Vice President for University Advancement Robert Beagle probably said it best: "We have an outstanding representative in Alan, who is articulate and creative, and who will continue to help advise and lead us."


These awards are presented to individuals who have made extraordinary efforts to advance the goals of the University of Rhode Island.

Joel P. Rawson
While helping to lead the award-winning Providence Journal, Joel Rawson has somehow found time to play a critical role in strengthening the ties between the state’s flagship University and its largest newspaper. The senior vice president and executive editor of the Journal, Rawson persuaded the newspaper to become a major sponsor of the URI Honors Colloquium, beginning in 1999. The colloquium has brought nationally known speakers to URI on such topics as Vietnam, nonviolence, sustainability and, this year, the genetic revolution. Rawson served as a panelist for the 1999 colloquium presentation "Veterans’ Voices" and helped recruit other panelists. The Burrillville resident delivered a compelling and powerful presentation based on his experiences as an Army fixed-wing aviator out of DaNang from 1968 through 1969. A few years ago, when a cartoon in the student newspaper sparked racial tension, Rawson participated in a First Amendment panel that attracted an audience of 500.

Roland O. Ferland
Although Roland Ferland attended URI for only one year, he is a dedicated supporter of the University, serving as board parliamentarian for the URI Southwest Florida Gators Alumni Chapter. A resident of Punta Gorda, the former Pawtucket resident has served as one of the chapter’s board members for several years and provides valuable insight on the conduct of our directors and the many facets of chapter organizations. He draws from his extensive business career and the many civic and governmental agencies on which he has served. In Rhode Island, the Ferland name is well known for its quality homes for families of all income levels. The National Association of Home Builders named Ferland as its vice president and as an adviser to the group’s executive committee, and inducted him into its Housing Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C., in May 1996. For his work, he received the President’s Distinguished Service Award. He has also testified before Congress on affordable housing.


This award is presented to a recent graduate who exhibits loyalty and commitment to the University of Rhode Island.

Preston L. Murphy, ’99
Preston Murphy no longer receives standing ovations or coverage on the 6 o’clock news for his accomplishments. The former standout guard who helped lead the Rhody basketball team to two straight NCAA tourney appearances in the late ‘90s is now satisfied with other victories. After graduating as a finance major in 1999, Murphy played professional basketball in the International Basketball League and in the NBA summer league with the Los Angeles Clippers, as well as in Europe. But then he turned his attention to youth service activities. In a very short time, the Pawtucket resident has distinguished himself as a committed and enthusiastic advocate. In 2002, he was named program coordinator for the Alternative Educational Program, a Providence-based, non-profit organization. With that agency, he recruited and counseled high-risk students in the College Readiness Program, which prepares students for entrance into the University’s much-heralded Special Programs for Talent Development. He also played a leadership role in engaging a number of high-profile former basketball players to complete work on their degrees. Previously, Murphy worked as the Rhode Island Teen Program Director for the Providence YMCA. He now resides in Cranston, Rhode Island.


This award is presented to an outstanding graduate whose life and accomplishments represent the spirit of service and excellence embodied in graduates of the University of Rhode Island.

Douglas N. Durand ’74
When Douglas Durand encountered massive health-care billing fraud as vice president of sales for TAP Pharmaceutical Products, he remembered his parents’ moral code: "You don’t lie. You don’t cheat. You don’t steal." After arriving at TAP, he learned that the company was encouraging urologists to gouge the government and patients for cancer treatments, and then pocket the excess. On the advice of his attorney, Durand began copying key documents, filling a binder with 200 pages of memos and a list of doctors who were benefiting from the over-billing scheme. Golf and ski outings, medical equipment, and Christmas parties were among the inducements. Durand’s lawyer called him the best client she’d ever had, and a public interest group said he took a courageous step. His commitment led to an $875 million combined criminal and civil settlement with TAP, the largest criminal fine ever for health care fraud.

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