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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Anonymous donor pledges $1 Million to URI Athletics

Media Contact: Mike Laprey, 401-874-2401

Largest-ever donation in University athletics history

KINGSTON, R.I. -- Nov. 20, 2007 -- The University of Rhode Island's baseball facilities will undergo major upgrades thanks to the first-ever $1 million pledge to the Department of Athletics as part of the $100 million "Making a Difference" capital campaign at the University.

"We are so appreciative of this extremely generous gift to URI Athletics and, in particular, to our baseball program," said Thorr Bjorn, director of athletics. "Because of this gift, we are able to upgrade the playing surface at Bill Beck Field, as well as provide both our baseball and softball student-athletes with an indoor batting facility."

Facility improvements include:
A synthetic surface installed on Bill Beck Field, home of URI baseball
A sod and sprinkler system for the outfield
An indoor batting facility that will be used by the baseball and softball teams
A donation toward the Student-Athlete Development Center, including naming rights for the baseball offices

"The donor understood the importance of allocating a portion of the gift toward the Student-Athlete Development Center, which is going to enhance the overall experience for the 500-plus URI student-athletes," Bjorn added. "A gift of this size also shows the tremendous passion for URI athletics by our alumni and friends. We expect that this is just the beginning, as we work to raise $5 million for the Student-Athlete Development Center and other important athletic facility upgrades under the umbrella of the University's `Making a Difference' capital campaign."

"This is the next logical step in building upon the success of our baseball program," said Jim Foster, head baseball coach. "This gift will provide an outstanding venue and training facilities that are second to none. This will greatly enhance the total experience for members of the team."

"By adding a synthetic surface to the infield, we can create a year-round playing surface for our baseball team," Bjorn said. "It will also dramatically reduce the need for field maintenance."

Construction will begin at the end of the spring baseball season with completion set for the end of summer 2008.