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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

$160,000 raised in honor of retired accounting professor - Funds to support named professorship

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 14, 2004 -- At times, the evening was much like moments in his classroom at the University of Rhode Island. The 280 friends, colleagues and family members of Accounting Professor Richard Vangermeersch laughed, applauded and sang along with this one-man vaudeville act as they celebrated his retirement after a 34-year teaching career in the URI College of Business Administration.

But the event in early June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings in Warwick was different in one big way. Not only did Vangermeersch and the crowd celebrate a career filled with excellence, enthusiasm and fun, they applauded the $160,000 raised in honor of his retirement. The money will go to a new endowed professorship named for Vangermeersch.

“The turnout, the tribute and the many generous gifts from students and friends in support of the Vangermeersch Professorship all underscore his truly outstanding career at URI,” said Paul Witham, URI associate vice president of development.

“The function was a spectacular extravaganza,” Vangermeersch said. “The money raised for the professorship was a big highlight. We’re trying to raise a total of $250,000, and we think that’s attainable.”

Income from the endowment could be used to enhance a professor’s salary, hire a graduate student to assist with research or other areas related to scholarly activity. “It’s a great tool to recruit top professors,” the Narragansett resident said. “It’s an honor for me, for the University and the person who is selected for the professorship. We need to get the message out about the importance of endowed professorships and endowed chairs.”

In addition to the great fund-raising news, the event offered great music by Joe Parillo and the URI Jazz Combo and the Fans of Sinatra group led by alumnus Frank Mansella ’83. There was also a 6-foot photo cutout of Vangermeersch.

“Someone suggested that we use it as a dartboard,” Vangermeersch said.

And of course, the night would not have been complete without some entertainment provided by the honoree himself. Well-known for his classroom antics to drive home accounting principles, Vangermeersch gave a presentation on his 250 “Vangrams.” He hit on such sayings as, “If you want to whine, go to Napa Valley.”

And he sang some of his classic hits, such as “There’s No Control Like Ledger Control,” performed to the tune of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”