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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: Todd McLeish 401-874-7892

URI chemical engineering department
benefits from two generous alumni

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 1, 2003 -- David Brook and John Nystrom were five years apart during their undergraduate years at the University of Rhode Island, but they were just days apart this winter when they each decided to establish $25,000 endowments to support the URI Department of Chemical Engineering.

"URI gave me a first rate education, particularly in chemical engineering, which has been a foundation for my entire professional career," said Brook, an Acton, Mass., resident who graduated in 1962 and later founded the intellectual property law firm of Hamilton, Brook, Smith & Reynolds, P.C., in Concord, Mass. He subsequently was a founder of Taunton-based Kopin Corp., which uses wafer engineering technology to develop and manufacture advanced semiconductor materials. "URI was also an incredible bargain from a financial point of view. The endowment is my way of giving something back to my alma mater and its current and future students."

Nystrom (shown below) shares that sentiment. "I’ve been quite fortunate financially, which I attribute in great part to my chemical engineering education," said the Framingham, Mass. resident. "I attended URI on a scholarship and on fellowships in graduate school, and I guess I have always wanted to repay URI for, in essence, sponsoring my education."

A 1967 alumnus who earned his Ph.D. from the University in 1974, Nystrom is the vice president of manufacturing at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. He spent 19 years at Arthur D. Little, where he was vice president for technology and innovation management, and later served as vice president of technical operations at The Medicines Co.

As active members of the URI College of Engineering Advisory Council, Brook and Nystrom have been giving back to URI for many years. Brook was inducted into the College’s Founders Club in 2001, and Nystrom dedicated a room in the Kirk Technology Building to his father-in-law in 1997.

The Nystrom Family Endowment and the Arlene and David E. Brook Endowment will provide support for a wide range of programs and activities in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

"David and John have played key roles in moving the College of Engineering forward, and their endowments will make a huge difference to the chemical engineering department," said Richard Brown, professor and department chair. "We are tremendously grateful for their generosity."

Fond memories of their college years have ensured that Brook and Nystrom have maintained close connections to their alma mater. Nystrom has a daily reminder of his URI days, since he married the daughter of his metallurgy professor, Ken Mairs. For Brook, it’s memories of the Sigma Chi fraternity, basketball games, and professor Ralph Thompson.

"I developed many lasting relationships during that time," Nystrom said. "There are four of us from grad school that get together with some faculty each summer, and I still see my undergrad roommates to play golf on occasion. I didn’t just pass through the place. When I left, it was with some important accomplishments and lasting relationships."

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