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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Journal Register Co. donation to help refurbish ailing student center at URI

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Journal Register Company publisher presents $25,000 check

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 27, 2005 -- For a few years now, University of Rhode Island Nursing Dean Dayle Joseph has wanted to renovate space on the second floor of White Hall for a new, more welcoming student/faculty center. Thanks to a recent $25,000 donation from the Journal Register Company, Joseph is well on her way to reaching the $200,000 goal for the project.

David Dear, publisher of The Narragansett Times, presented the check on behalf of the Journal Register Co., to Robert Beagle, vice president for University Advancement, and Joseph during a tour of the space to be renovated and a review of the renderings.

Dear, whose mother was a nurse, said the Journal Register Co., which owns The Times and seven other Rhode Island newspapers, said, “the Journal Register Company is delighted to assist in bringing the college closer to its goal.

“I was pleased to be able to tell my mom about how we were able to help URI,” said Dear, whose mom was also a nursing professor at George Mason University in Virginia. “I grew up hearing about nursing and nursing degrees. We all need to encourage people to get into the health professions and stay with them because the hours are tough and long, but the professions can also be profoundly rewarding.”

The donation was the fourth of its kind by the Journal Register Co. to URI. Each year, URI and the company identify initiatives or projects that would benefit students.

URI’s College of Nursing, which is celebrating its 60th Anniversary, is in a fund drive to update the student/faculty center in White Hall, home to the University’s nursing program. So far, more than $100,000 has been raised for the project.

The college enrolls 536 undergraduate, 80 master’s degree and 35 doctoral students.

“This gift certainly gave a boost to this renovation project,” Joseph said. “We have received several major gifts; we’re now at about 60 percent of the goal.
“A former commuter student on our committee told me how important it would have been to have a place like this. Students today in our graduate program who have gone through as undergraduates said students would gather more frequently in the center if it were more inviting.”

She added that nursing students at each level of study enjoy studying and socializing with each other, and the student center is the most accessible place for that.

The public phase of the fund drive will include a 60th anniversary gala at the Newport Hyatt on Oct. 8.

The dean said she expects the renovation project to begin in June 2006, with completion set for the following fall. Barbara Thornton from Brewster Thornton Rapp, located in Providence, has been hired as the architect.

“We are creating an atmosphere that tells our students that we think they are important and that they deserve a comfortable, updated space in which to socialize and study. It’s going to be more of a coffeehouse atmosphere, with comfortable furniture and a much-needed brighter look,” Joseph said.