Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Donors support peace studies at URI with more than $425,000 in gifts

Media Contact:


KINGSTON, R.I. –-January 23, 2008—Some University of Rhode Island faculty and alumni want to give peace a chance by supporting the work of nonviolence and peace studies at the University. Their gifts are part of URI’s Making A Difference Campaign.

URI 1983 Alumni Shannon Chandley and Tom Silvia of Amherst, New Hampshire have designated $300,000 of their gift to establish the Silvia/Chandley Professorship in Peace Studies to support a faculty member committed to research or teaching related to peace. “We give this gift not because we have a Pollyanna view of the world, but because we recognize the horror of a world at war,” says Chandley, who majored in English and history at URI. “Peace is the absence of aggression and must be the goal of all nations. The United States is supremely positioned to lead by example and establish peace with justice and the rule of law and with respect for human dignity, both globally and domestically. It is our hope that our gift will encourage faculty members and students to pursue this endeavor.”

E. R. “Sury” and Indu Suryanarayan of Kingston donated $100,000 to URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. “In this century, there is an urgent need for nonviolence to enter the lives of people all over the world,” said Sury who taught math at URI for more than 40 years before retiring in 2001. Indu, a URI alumna, earned three advanced degrees in English and library science. “The donation shall be used toward the training of teachers who can teach students the importance of nonviolence, “ they said.

Professor Emeritus of Political Science Art Stein and Clare Sartori-Stein of Wakefield donated $25,000 to establish undergraduate scholarships for students interested in nonviolence and peace. Art joined URI in 1965 and soon thereafter introduced nonviolence courses into the curriculum. A co-founder of URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, Art has traveled, researched, lectured, and written extensively on peace building.

“I feel gratitude for the many URI students I’ve had the privilege of teaching and from whom I continue to learn. Clare and I both believe that we can make no better investment than to support nonviolence and peace education for students from across the curricula,” says Art.

“Gandhi said it well: Become the change you want to see in the world. There are many creative ways to get in touch with the sources of peace within oneself. Real peace in the world will come only when we are able to deal nonviolently with the root causes of injustice and war, and in this each person’s contribution helps.”

URI 1964 alumna Regina Espenshade of Washington, D.C. donated $1,000 to the center. Her interest in nonviolence and peace stems from her life experiences. Born to Jewish immigrants who lost everything when they fled Austria before World War II, Espenshade has gone from living in the Olneyville section of Providence to becoming an international peacekeeper who travels the world overseeing elections.

“These donors are all extraordinary people who have a global perspective on the importance of peace and nonviolence,” comments Winifred Brownell, dean of URI’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Thanks to their generous commitments, URI students will have a chance to participate in teaching, research, and outreach programs that work toward achieving peace in the world. With our nation engaged in war and facing violence every day in our cities and countryside, now is the most critical time to invest in peace and nonviolence. We can make a difference here and throughout the world.”

URI's Making A Difference Campaign seeks $100 million to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance the student-centered campus experience, provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and fund cutting-edge academic and research initiatives. For more information on the campaign, click www.urifoundation.org/