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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI names local business leader to fund-raising team

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 24, 2004 -- As South County Hospitalís vice president of planning and service development, he played a key role in the hospitalís successful $9 million capital campaign.

As president of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co., he helped keep the Rhode Island institution and its jobs alive.

And as a top official at such American business giants as SmithKline Beecham, Black & Decker Mfg. Co. and Ralston Purina Inc., he had his finger on the pulse of the national and international business scenes.

Now Kenneth N. Kermes, a former vice president of business and finance at URI, has brought his business acumen to the Division of University Advancement as it gears up for its newest major capital campaign.

A resident of Wakefield, Kermes served at South County Hospital from 2002 until December 2003 when he was named to the URI post of major gifts officer. He served the University as business and finance chief from 1995 through 1998. While working with the entire development team, Kermes is focusing on private giving to the College of Pharmacy. The project will be funded through public and private funds.

"Itís not every day we have an opportunity to bring on board someone with the background and abilities of Ken Kermes," said Bob Beagle, URI vice president of University Advancement. "As we move into a major capital campaign, it is important to have a person like Ken who can initiate new relationships, especially with the business community. He can effectively engage those people on behalf of the University."

Paul Witham, associate vice president of development, said that Kermes will also be a key player in developing relationships in the state in government and the private sector.

"I am working with all development staff to achieve the varied and ambitious goals of the Division of University Advancement," Kermes said.

"(Pharmacy) Dean (Donald) Letendre is very keen to develop funding opportunities," Kermes said. "He wants to build on the strong friendships he has made in the pharmaceutical industry."

"The College of Pharmacy is thrilled to have someone of Mr. Kermesí stature to assist us in helping to realize our hopes and dreams for the future," Letendre said. "His knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and strong ties to the state's business community will be invaluable to us in the days ahead."

Kermes earned his bachelor's degree in American studies from Amherst College, and after that served as an aviator in the Navy from 1957 through 1965. He attended the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1976.

Kermes said he is proud of his work at South County Hospital where he helped oversee the opening of the new wound care and anti-coagulation clinics, groundbreaking for South County's first radiation oncology clinic and the study of satellite sites in outlying communities.

"I left the hospital knowing that I had completed the jobs that I had in front of me," Kermes said. "So, I asked Bob Beagle, 'how can I help URI?' I live here, and the University does good things, important things for the community. Now, it needs to rely more and more on alumni and corporations to accomplish its objectives."