Passion for URI rewarded
Shane Donaldson, 401-874-4894
Alumnus honored for lifetime of commitment to University
KINGSTON, R.I. – March 1, 2011 - Alan Zartarian is the University of Rhode Island.
Few can match the passion he has for his alma mater. In many ways, Zartarian has never left URI since graduating from the College of Business Administration in 1969.
He has sat on just about every major board URI has to offer. He is among the select few people who have attended all six NCAA tournament victories the men’s basketball team has in its history. He has fought to improve URI’s standing in the state, and is constantly working to improve life on campus for current and future students.
For these reasons and more, Zartarian was honored with the URI Alumni Association’s Ram Award, given to individuals with 25 years or more of service and dedication to URI and the Alumni Association. Zartarian, a Warwick native, became the first recipient of the honor since 2005 and was honored during the men’s basketball game against the University of Massachusetts on February 19.
“I adore the University, and will always be protective of it,” Zartarian said. “Many times I have gotten into arguments defending URI. I feel like this is my place. URI belongs to the state and everyone who has ever attended this school, and I want to stay as actively involved as possible for as long as I can.”
“Alan is the epitome of a University of Rhode Island alumnus,” said Michele Nota, executive director of URI Alumni Relations. “Since graduating in 1969, he has continuously given his time and talent. His support of the Alumni Association is ongoing, whether it be attending the Big Chill Weekend or the Alumni Golf Tournament, or by participating in one of our many chapter or alumni/athletic events. Alan is such a strong advocate for the University and is such a worthy choice for the Alumni Association Ram Award.”
To say Zartarian has been active is an understatement. It started with support for athletics as a member of the Century Club shortly after he graduated. By the time Zartarian turned 27, he was president of the athletics booster group. He was a founding member of the Fast Break Club, and served as the first president of the Blue and White Fund, which was the first incarnation of today’s Rhode Island Rams Athletic Association.
“I have a passion for URI. I always have,” Zartarian said. “It started out on athletics side, particularly with football and basketball. Over the years, it has grown into support across the board.
Ballentine Hall was built during Zartarian’s junior year at URI. When it was renovated in 1994, Zartarian donated more than $25,000 to the cause.
“I took classes in Ballentine when it was brand new. Talk about feeling old,” Zartarian said with a laugh. “I’ve always had a passion to want to help the future business students have the same type of success I’ve had.”
Zartarian and his brothers made a joint gift of $140,000 to the Ryan Center Campaign, and he and his wife, Marilyn (’70), created an endowed scholarship for the College of Business Administration.
His business and financial background led to Zartarian being named as a trustee for the URI Foundation. Later he was chosen to serve on the executive committee and the Investment Committee.
“I believe every Rhode Islander should take a tour of the University,” Zartarian said. “I feel strongly about that. URI does not get a fair shake from most people in the state, but that is more because they don’t realize what a gem we have here.”
URI alumnus Alan Zartarian and his wife Marilyn ('70) have given back to the University numerous times through the years.
Alan Zartarian (second from left) is presented with the Alumni Association's Ram Award by URI Alumni Association Donald Sullivan, Vice President of Advancement Robert Beagle and Executive Director of Alumni Relations Michele Nota
URI Department of Communications & Marketing photos by Nora Lewis