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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Jones Apparel executive to co-chair URI Alumni Fund

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON , R.I. -- September 21, 2004 -- Wesley R. “Wes” Card, chief operating and financial officer of Jones Apparel Group, Inc., New York, and his wife, Dianne Kenny Card, have volunteered to chair the University of Rhode Island’s Alumni Fund this year.

A memory from Wes Card’s senior year was in large part the reason for his decision to spearhead the yearly fund drive.

“I needed a few hundred dollars to help me get over the edge,” said Card, who worked his way through his undergraduate years at the University. “The Student Financial Aid Office provided those few hundred dollars from an alumni scholarship, and they told me they wished I had sought help sooner, because they could have provided more assistance.”

That financial assistance and the need to make current students aware of financial aid opportunities at URI prompted Wes and Dianne to chair this year’s URI Alumni Fund.

Card, a 1970 URI graduate and now a top official of Jones Apparel Group, a Fortune 500 company, and Dianne, a 1969 graduate, have been major supporters of URI for many years.

In addition to their generous financial support of the Alumni Fund, the Ballentine Hall renovation project and the Vangermeersch Endowment, the Cards have been active members of the URI community. They are current members of the Massachusetts Alumni Club and Wes is a past member of the URI College of Business Administration Advisory Council.

“Their record of involvement and support of URI is outstanding,” said Sarah Howard, interim director of the Annual Fund, which includes the Alumni Fund. “They cherish their time at URI, and the benefits they gained from their experiences. We are honored that they are willing to give of their valuable time to help their University, and especially the students.”

Wes, who met Dianne on a blind date at URI, said it is a good time to assist the fund-raising effort at URI.

“We felt this was a good time to become more involved in the fund-raising enterprise at URI and more specifically the Alumni Fund,” Wes said. “We were surprised at the level of state support for the University, and as a state school, we assumed it would be much higher (than 20 percent). That’s one of the primary reasons we volunteered.

“Financial support is a major need of the University,” said Wes, who grew up in East Greenwich. “We feel, as do others who have benefited greatly from URI, that there is great value at the University. We need to give back and help support the current student body.”

Dianne, who was raised in Warwick, said it was difficult to help out until she and her husband moved to Pride’s Crossing, a community north of Boston in March 2003. Wes now splits his time between his home in Massachusetts and New York.

“I see this as a great opportunity to reconnect with my sorority sisters from Alpha Delta Pi, and other URI friends,” Dianne said. “It’s much easier to do now that we are living closer to Rhode Island.”

While lending his critical support to URI, Wes will stay active with Jones Apparel Group, a leading designer and marketer of branded apparel, footwear and accessories. The company’s nationally recognized brands include Jones New York, Polo Jeans Company licensed from Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., Evan-Picone, Nine West and Anne Klein. In Rhode Island Jones Apparel Group operates Victoria & Co. in East Providence.

The Annual Fund is the University’s premier fund and the primary source of unrestricted support for many of URI’s ongoing programs. These unrestricted contributions are critical to the University because they provide flexible funding that can be put to immediate use where needed most.

The 2003-2004 Alumni Fund raised about $1.03 million from generous alumni. The money will be used to support undergraduate scholarships, faculty development programs, alumni communications and events, and a range of day-to-day programs for URI students.