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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Alumni Center rolls out the welcome mat with open house celebrations

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I., -- August 15, 2005 -- Beautiful, warm, spectacular and inviting are among the words alumni, faculty and staff are using to describe the University of Rhode Island Alumni Center, which opened in the spring for administrators and staff in the Division of University Advancement.

And now that all of the finishing touches have been completed, the URI Alumni Association is going to throw a grand opening bash and a series of open houses for the URI community.

• The official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. at the Center at 73 Upper College Road. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be served. The event is open to the public.

• An open house for URI students is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14. Times will be announced later.

• An open house for URI faculty and staff will take place Thursday, Sept. 15. Times will be announced later.

• A barbecue for Sigma Chi alumni will be held Saturday, Oct. 29 at 10:30 a.m. The Center is located at the site of the former Sigma Chi Fraternity house.

Please respond to the Alumni Association at alumni@advance.uri.edu if you plan to attend any of these events.

“We are very proud of the Alumni Center, and we want all alumni and the campus community to share in that pride,” said Michele Nota, executive director of the Alumni Association. “We also want alumni, as well as the campus community, to know that the Center can be used for receptions, department meetings and other social functions. These events are our chance to welcome the URI family to the Center, have them meet the administrators and staff who work here and to let them know that this is their home, too.”

Already the Center has been used for Commencement 2005, Golden Grads Weekend and reunions, and it made an immediate, positive impression.

It’s easy to see why. When visitors enter through the front door along Upper College Road, they see a verandah supported by six columns, a lush lawn and plantings in front of a large bay window. At the rear entrance, visitors can enjoy a sitting wall, large patio, more plantings and a large verandah supported by eight columns.

Once inside the 21,000-square-foot, cedar-shingled Center, they’ll see a lounge, boardroom and conference room with oak floors. The lounge has a floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace, an oriental rug, comfortable couches and chairs. French doors open to the patio. It can accommodate events for up to 70 people. A chessboard sits atop a table placed near one of the French doors.

The 18-seat boardroom has a fireplace as well and French doors that open to the patio. Also, there is an adjoining catering kitchen.

The conference room features a large bay window and seating for 10.

Wainscoting compliments the colonial blue and red painted on the walls.

A key feature of the climate-controlled building is that doors and windows can be opened when weather is pleasant and sunny. The Center is equipped with full wireless Internet and cable television access.

The public spaces have all been designed to provide a “home away from home” for alumni. “Our Student Alumni Association will be available to conduct campus tours from the Center,” Nota said.

In addition to the public areas, the first floor houses the URI Department of Communications/News Bureau and the Alumni Association.

The second floor houses Advancement Division administrators and staff, Annual Fund, Athletic Development, Development, Programming and Special Events. The third floor is home to the Publications Office and Advancement Services.