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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Foundation presents its 2005 Excellence Awards

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 30, 2005 -- Each year, the University of Rhode Island Foundation recognizes four outstanding members of the URI community for their excellence. This year’s excellence award winners were presented with a citation and a check for $1,000 on Sept. 13.

The recipients are invited to march in URI’s commencement ceremony next May, walking with officials and dignitaries representing excellence within the URI community.

Recipients of the 2005 URI Foundation Excellence Award are:

Kathy Craig

2005 URI Foundation Staff Excellence Award

Kathy Craig of Enrollment Services sure knows her way around e-Campus. The Narragansett resident was the glue that helped hold the University together when it became “unglued” as the PeopleSoft conversion was made. For example, she invited faculty members to her office and helped them enter their grades electronically. She could often be seen wearing a headset, patiently taking other faculty members through the process on the phone, looking much like an air traffic controller talking in a plane with sputtering engines.

Students also find her “user friendly.” She helps defuse anxious moments -- late registrations, class overrides, urgently needed transcripts -- with patience and characteristic sense of humor.

Since she has served the University for more than a quarter century, she is a valuable resource. “Call Kathy” is a common refrain throughout the campus when someone has a question. And sure enough, this beacon of knowledge is able to lead members of the community out of her or his bewildering fog.

Arthur C. Mead

2005 Teaching Excellence Award

When people say that teaching is an art, they just might be thinking of Art Mead of Newport. This economics professor relishes revving up large classes using iTunes—he takes requests—and then teaching the 300-plus students the relevancy of economics in today’s world.

He is student-centered. Although he has taught courses at URI for almost 30 years, his material, unlike bread, has never grown stale. In fact, his Web CT makes it easy for his students to point and click their way to economic enlightenment.

His office is always open, generally filled with three or four students.

He goes out of his way to pat students on the back when they show maturity, and to speak to them honestly when they haven’t.

A grateful student once presented him with a gift certificate. He refused it, suggesting instead that when she was rich, she donate scholarships to help economics students pay for their education.

Sue Warford

2005 URI Foundation Administrative Excellence Award

Amid waves of laughter, activity tables, and science corners, Sue Warford of Kingston stands calmly at the helm of URI’s Kingston Child Development Center. Not only does she set a nurturing educational course for preschool and kindergarten children, she often provides creative counseling for their unsure parents.
She connects with every youngster, no matter how withdrawn, difficult or uncertain, always greeting them and their family members by name.

She teaches her young charges how to be good neighbors by hosting an annual “art exchange” where their small hands create such items as bookmarks and key rings in “exchange” for donations to local charities.

This captain of high-quality early childhood education shares her knowledge with roughly 150 URI practicum students annually, enhancing their learning experience with observation and hands-on experiences.

While her crew changes with each passing year, Sue Warford remains patient, good humored, and a shining example of how to teach and care for all children.

Linda Welters

2005 URI Foundation Scholarly Excellence Award

Linda Welters of Wakefield has the field of historic textiles and dress all sewn up. Her scholarship is global and local. She has been recognized as a distinguished scholar by the International Textile and Apparel Association and selected as a Fellow of the Costume Society of America. This scholar has extensively examined clothing in Greece and Eastern Europe and thoroughly studied New England dress. Based on her research of Native Americans and settlers in early New England, she designed the clothing for the figures in the Pequot village exhibit gallery at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum.

Thanks to her direction of the Rhode Island Quilt Documentation Project, Ocean Staters know a lot more about their quilts and the families that made them.
Not one to rest on her scholarly laurels, this fashionable maven has resumed her role as chair of the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design, seamlessly weaving the scholarly with the academic.

A footnote: Professors Art Mead and Linda Welters donated their $1,000 prize to help their respective departments. Mead wants the award to help establish an annual “best research” prize by undergraduate economics students. Welters’ award will help support two undergraduate students for study abroad.