Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

RI Board of Governors for Higher Education appoints David M. Dooley as URI's 11th president

Media Contact: Wendy Roworth, 401-874-2773

CONTACT: Steven J. Maurano, APR
Associate Commissioner/External Affairs
(401) 462-9307 – office (401) 419-4773 – cell
smaurano@ribghe.org

Dr. Dooley has served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT since 2001


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, MAY 11, 2009: The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) announced early this evening that it has selected Dr. David M. Dooley, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, as the new president of the University of Rhode Island (URI). Dr. Dooley will succeed Dr. Robert L. Carothers, who is stepping down on June 30th after 18 years as URI's president.

"David Dooley is an outstanding choice to be the next president of the University of Rhode Island," said Judge Frank Caprio, RIBGHE chairman. “He has clearly demonstrated that he understands the University's aspirations and is well acquainted with what it will take to achieve them. At the same time, he is mindful of the challenges that URI faces and he is committed to finding ways that will move the University forward. Provost Dooley's track record at Montana State University, especially his championing of their research funding, was outstanding as was much of his earlier work at Amherst College. He has a reputation of being someone who can unite people toward a common purpose and lead as well as inspire them toward that goal. We are very pleased to announce his selection and we pledge the Board's unqualified support to him in his new role," Judge Caprio said.

"Provost Dooley has a commitment to excellence," said Commissioner of Higher Education Jack R. Warner. “He understands the importance of building relationships with a variety of on-and off-campus constituencies and of leveraging those relationships for the greater good of the institution. We were most impressed with how he worked with and supported the teaching responsibilities of faculty and promoted student success while still supporting and expanding the research mission at Montana State. URI is committed to a greater focus on research and we believe that Provost Dooley is the right person to shape and develop that focus and put it into practice at the University. At the same time, he has demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to the University's role in economic and workforce development. The Board has made an excellent choice for URI and for the state of Rhode Island," Commissioner Warner said.

Dr. Dooley, age 56 and a native of California, was selected from a group of three finalists for the position after a nationwide search which attracted 55 candidates. The presidential search committee, chaired by CVS Caremark Corporation CEO Thomas M. Ryan (URI '75), pared the initial list to eight semi-finalists, all of whom came to Rhode Island and were interviewed by the search committee. The three finalists selected by the search committee each spent a day and a half on URI's campuses last month meeting with students, faculty, staff and alumni. Finalists also interviewed with Commissioner Warner, outgoing URI President Carothers, Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo and Community College of Rhode Island President Raymond M. Di Pasquale in addition to members of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education.

Dr. Dooley earned a BA in Chemistry from the University of California in San Diego and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

He began his career in higher education in 1978 as an assistant professor at Amherst College in Amherst, MA and later became a full professor and department chair there. When he left Amherst for Montana State in 1993, one of his primary responsibilities as chair of the university's department of chemistry and biochemistry was to strengthen that unit. That department is now considered to be one of the strongest at Montana State, according to university officials.

Dr. Dooley has nearly sixteen years' experience as chief academic officer and department chair at Montana State. He led the chemistry and biochemistry department for six years before being appointed interim provost and vice president for academic affairs in June 1999. The interim was removed from his title in June 2001. (Dr. Dooley has maintained an active laboratory while serving as provost at Montana State, and his research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.) He is chair of the university's planning, budget and analysis committee which is responsible for strategic planning, assessment and for setting the university's operating budget. He also manages the university's international partnerships.

Montana State University, like URI also a land-grant institution, has just over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students. (URI's enrollment was 15,904 as of fall '08.) Dr. Dooley has been a central figure in attracting research dollars to Montana State, helping to grow that budget from almost nothing to $100 million during his tenure. The university is now ranked among the top tier of research universities, as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. URI, which is ranked in the second tier, aspires to that goal.

Dr. Dooley's wife, Lynn Baker-Dooley, is a Baptist minister. The couple has two adult children, Chris and Samantha, and a dog named Rhody.

Download: Press Release
David M. Dooley- CV