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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Profound change leads East Providence woman to degree at URI

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 19, 2005 – Many students in the class of 2005 at the University of Rhode Island will have to make major changes after graduation on May 22.

Some will move to a different part of the country. Some will take time off from school and work and some will get married in the near future.

But Riverside’s Joan Karter, who will graduate Sunday with a bachelor’s degree in general business, has had to deal with profound change in her life well before commencement day.

“After being married for 25 years, my husband died very unexpectedly in 1996,” said Karter, who is the President’s Award winner as this year’s top general business student at URI.

At the time she and her husband, Bill X. Karter, owned their own candy shop and art gallery in Barrington called Bonbons. “I knew I didn't want to keep the store on my own, so I had to reinvent my life. Today I am lucky to be remarried with a 10- year-old stepson who lives with us in Riverside.”

She says her success is a tribute the support of her current husband, Daniel W. Connery, her stepson Harrison Connery and her mom, Patricia D. Victor, who lives in Warren.

“They provided the support when I most needed it, and my mother, who is extremely creative, helped me with several early college projects,” Karter said.

Her career and lifestyle makeover included enrolling in business at URI’s Feinstein Providence campus in 1996 and getting a job with Citizens Bank in December 1997. She now works as a business systems analyst in bank operations at Citizens’ East Providence operations center primarily managing process improvement projects. And if school and work weren’t enough, for the last three years, Karter has managed the Citizens Annual Community Giving Campaign for about 1,000 employees at the operations center.

“I always regretted not getting a college degree and since the bank has been paying for my education, lucky me, it made sense to me to enroll in the business program,” Karter said.
Karter said she had a great deal of business experience. “But I lacked an element of confidence due to my own feelings about my lack of formal training. Now I can speak the language of business. I have enjoyed every course without exception. Since I started with Citizens I have been promoted four times and directly attribute my success to my education. In addition, I just love learning new things.”

She said she is happy that she took all of her classes in Providence. “Some of my favorite professors are Cleveland Kurtz, Jill Long, Mary Zahm, Catherine Pastille, Nancy Beausoleil, and Pam Marks,” Karter said. “One of the advantages I had because of attending in Providence was that I was allowed to do my junior and senior professional electives outside of URI’s College of Business Administration. In addition to the business requirements I took some communications and English courses.”

And now that she is wrapping up her education, maybe she’ll be able to enjoy some leisure time.

“I love going to the beach, skiing, and reading novels—I haven't been able to enjoy that for a long time,” Karter said.

Joan Karter. URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno photography.