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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

URI Dept. of Human Development and
Family Studies presents four alumni awards

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 24, 2003 -- The University of Rhode Island’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies honored four of their alumni during recent ceremonies.

The department is part of the University’s College of Human Science and Services. Its mission is to enhance individual and family well-being through interdisciplinary academic programs, research, service and outreach initiatives. Academic programs prepare students to function as leaders in educational, human service and clinical settings.
This year’s recipients are:

ROSEMARY E. BOWERS
Rosemary L. Bowers’ lifelong commitment to children began as an undergraduate majoring in Child Development and Family Relations at the University of Rhode Island. In her early career, the 1978 URI graduate was a teacher and director of preschool programs and eventually opened her own preschool. In 1982 she founded A Wish Come True, Inc. This nonprofit organization grants wishes to children ages 3 through 18 who have life-threatening illnesses. As the executive director, Bowers and her staff of volunteers have granted 1,129 wishes during the past two decades and now average more than "a wish a week." She lives in Tiverton.

KAREN GAUTNEY
Karen Gautney began her career with a five-year stint in federal law enforcement before enrolling in the marriage and family therapy master’s degree program at the University of Rhode Island. After graduation in 1991, she accepted a position at the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) in Washington, D.C. where she is currently the AAMFT deputy executive director and coordinates all programs and staff operations for the association. In addition to her 12 years of experience at the AAMFT, Gautney earned the Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives and completed the association management track of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame.

MICHAEL E. JENSEN
Mike Jensen grew up in Staten Island where he excelled in baseball and football at Tottenville High School. He was recruited to URI on a football scholarship starting as an offensive lineman during his four years at URI. A member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, he served as its president his senior year. Following completion of his degree in consumer affairs in l986, Jensen sold commercial real estate for 10 years. He is president of U.S. Home Med, a durable medical equipment company that manufactures products for patients in home-care settings in the mid-Atlantic region. His life revolves around his family, golf, skiing, basketball, and supporting the URI football program. He lives with his wife, Deborah, and their two sons, Ryan and Devin, ages 5 and 4, in Brielle, N.J.

MARILYN R. SWIERK
Marilyn Swierk, president of MS Innovations, is certified in Family and Consumer Sciences and Family Life Education, and was recently elected to the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) National Board of Directors. She is the recipient of numerous state and national awards, including the AAFCS 2001 Leader Award, the 1993 AAFCS National Teacher of the Year and the 1996 recipient of the University of Rhode Island Alumni Excellence Award in Education. Well known for her innovative programs, she is currently a consultant, a featured speaker at national and state conferences, and the author or contributing author of numerous books, booklets and articles on a variety of topics. Swierk, a resident of North Kingstown, holds both the B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Rhode Island.

URI News Bureau Photos by Michael Salerno Photography

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