Awards Honor Student Leadership
KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 3, 1999 -- Every day, many students spend hours
working behind the scenes to help make the University of Rhode Island a
better place. This spring, these dedicated students were brought into the
spotlight and honored for their hard work at the 11th Annual A. Robert Rainville
Awards banquet. The air was charged with excitement and anticipation as
students, parents, faculty, and staff filled the banquet hall to honor these
At the event, the following students were presented with A. Robert Rainville
Awards: Keisha Gallagher-Smith and Danielle Leigh Hill received Leadership
Awards; James P. Smith received the Employee Award, and the URI Emergency
Medical Service (EMS) group received the Team Award.
The recipients were chosen from a pool of 70 nominees, who all have a
history of academic excellence, honors, community service, and campus involvement,
according to Bruce Hamilton, director of the Memorial Union and Student
"Tonight we are celebrating the incredible strength of all of these
leaders. It never ceases to amaze me what these students can do," said
Gallagher-Smith's and Hill's leadership has had a tremendous effect on
many fellow students at URI. Both of them have become examples for others
to look to and find that their motivation comes from helping others.
"One of the greatest rewards and what really keeps you going is
having an impact on a lot of people. When you stop and think about it, it
is overwhelming," said Hill.
Hill, a senior from Cranston, R.I., who is majoring in communications
studies and sociology and minoring in Portuguese, has definitely set an
example for others to follow, according to Mavis Nimoh of Pawtucket, R.I.,
Leadership Award co-presenter and selection committee member.
"She carries herself with assurance and leadership and encourages
others to reach her level of leadership," explained Nimoh.
Hill is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society and the recipient
of several academic scholarships. She is a resident assistant and an active
member of Uhuru SaSa, SOAR, the Diversity Task Force, and Solidarity Outreach.
She is also a McNair Fellow and was awarded first place in the T.E. McKinney
Research Paper Competition.
Gallagher-Smith, a senior nursing student, has helped many as a resident
assistant, a URI 101 mentor, and vice president of the Rhode Island Student
Nurse's Association. She is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau International
Honor Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society, and has received
several academic scholarships.
Gallagher-Smith was emotional when receiving the award, and was surprised
that she had been recognized with such a big honor.
"To win an honor like this is unbelievable. When you are a student,
you don't know what kind of impact you have made on the campus and other
students. Then, when it comes time to leave as a senior, you hear all these
things about how you've helped others that you didn't even know about. It
is so rewarding," said Gallagher-Smith.
For James Smith, working on campus as a network administrator for the
College of Business is a far cry from his first job as a neighborhood paperboy.
Yet, this first job helped Smith learn how to interact with others, one
of the qualities that makes him such a valuable employee today.
"I find my motivation in working with and helping others. When I
know I've helped someone, it just inspires me and drives me to keep doing
it," explained Smith.
Smith, a senior Accounting and Management Science major from Warwick,
R.I., is treasurer for Beta Alpha Psi and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma
Honor Society and the Golden Key Honor Society.
For the URI EMS, anticipation proved to be the greatest joy. The group
has been nominated for the past five years for the team award, and the 48-member
team agreed that being chosen this year was well worth the wait.
"We are thrilled, ecstatic, everyone is just glowing. We've been
here for five years and to finally win is just incredible," said Nell
Codier of South Kingston.
The URIEMS works together to provide emergency medical care to the campus
community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each member volunteers a great
deal of their time to care for the well-being of others.
"Every organization bears on its shoulders responsibility, and this
group bears the greatest responsibility of all - our lives," said junior
Charley Wynkoop of Providence, R.I., presenter of the team award and member
of the selection committee.
In addition to the award recipients, finalists were Lauren Mylisa Fontaine
of Wallington, Conn., Jhomphy Ventura of Providence, R.I., and Anna Zielinski
of Clifton, N.J., for the leadership award; Nicole Flores of Staten Island,
N.Y., Erin Elizabeth O'Rourke of Park Ridge, N.J., Traci Reinecker of Dartmouth,
Mass., and Ana Filipa Santos of Cumberland, R.I. for the Employee Award;
and Bridges, Latin American Students Association, Student Alumni Association,
and the Student Entertainment Committee for the Team Award.
Named for the late A. Robert Rainville, URI's vice-president for Student
Affairs from 1980-86, the awards honor students who demonstrate outstanding
leadership abilities, service to campus organizations, and academic excellence.
Students are first nominated by students, staff, and faculty and then must
fill out an application which requires letters of recommendation from faculty
and members of URI community, an experiential resume, and an essay focusing
on their personal growth and development which is reviewed by a selection
committee. After several reviews, finalists and then winners are selected.
All finalists are inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame.
For More Information: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116