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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Cranston Print Works imprints its support for the University of Rhode Island

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

Establishes endowed scholarship for textiles students

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 10, 2005 -- The oldest textile printing company in the nation, Cranston Print Works, has made a significant New Year's resolution that will affect University of Rhode Island students for years to come.

Last month, the Cranston Print Works Foundation pledged $25,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund for students enrolled in the University's Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) department.

"We are very grateful to the Cranston Print Works Foundation for its leadership and support of our students," said Division of University Advancement Vice President Robert M. Beagle. "This new endowment will have a lasting impact on students training to enter the textiles field and on the University as a whole. Textiles is one of our top programs."

The gift is a part of the University’s upcoming capital campaign, which is in its early phase and will focus predominately on contributions to build the University’s endowment. Income from the Cranston Print Works Scholarship will be awarded as a scholarship to a student majoring in Fashion Merchandising, Apparel Studies, Textile Science, or Interior Furnishings and Design. Currently, there are just two scholarships designated exclusively for TMD students.

"I believe that URI has a terrific department and we are very pleased to support their work," said Cranston Print Works' Chief Executive Officer George Shuster. "In addition to the areas involved in the science of textiles manufacturing, the program provides training for students to learn the merchandising, marketing and design areas that will continue to be vital to companies regardless of where their products are made."

Shuster said the company recently saw this work first-hand. "In the past, a few URI graduate students put together a great marketing study related to high-end quilting fabrics. They had some great suggestions. It was a win-win for everybody," said Shuster who is known internationally for his work on the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition.

Based in the College of Human Science and Services, the TMD department has seen tremendous growth. In the last five years alone, enrollment has increased by about 20 percent from 282 to 332 students and more are on the waiting list to enroll in the undergraduate and graduate programs. URI is one of only a few schools in the country to offer the B.S. degree in Textiles Marketing in collaboration with an accredited College of Business Administration.

"Our department has been working with Cranston Print Works for decades," said Professor Linda Welters, who chairs the department. "The company has been an integral part of many of our efforts -- from their support of such endeavors as our award-winning quilt documentation project and an annual student fashion show to our historic textile gallery and much more. Our students have enjoyed onsite visits and internships to learn about the techniques the firm uses in the design of its fabrics, and their chief executives have taken the time to share insight into the international issues facing the textiles industry to better prepare our students for the market they will face. We are very appreciative of this new endowment and their tremendous support."

Welters, who lives in Wakefield, said that the TMD program and its graduates have become known worldwide. "Some of our graduates are curators in leading museums, fashion designers, marketing executives and textiles scientists. Now even more students hear about exciting things that our alumni are doing and want to become a part of the field," she said.

Headquartered in Rhode Island, Cranston Print Works traces its roots to 1824. Today it is a diversified, employee-owned company that includes the finest-equipped textile printing and finishing plant in the country. The company also includes Bercen, Inc., which manufactures a wide variety of specialty and functional chemical products that are used in the paper making, paper coating and paper converting industries, and the Cranston Trucking Company. Shown above: Professor Linda Welters with Cranston Print Works' Chief Executive Officer George Shuster.