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Scenes from Green Hall

History of the URI Presidency

Leadership through time

2009 - present
David M. Dooley

President Dooley With more than 30 years of experience in public and private higher education, Dr. David M. Dooley became the University of Rhode Island's 11th president in July 2009. He previously had served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Montana State, Bozeman, Montana.

Dr. Dooley earned a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of California in San Diego and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Actively engaged in teaching and research throughout his academic career, in 2012 he was named a Fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his distinguished career of sustained discovery and innovation. More informaton is available in President Dooley's CV.

President Carothers

1991 - 2009
Robert L. Carothers

Known for his inspirational leadership, during his 18-year tenure President Carothers initiated and made a series of progressive changes to the university's structure, infrastructure and curriculum. The University became know as a preeminent public institution for higher education, and a comprehensive branding initiative clearly defined the University's distinctiveness in the marketplace.

During his tenure, the University invested about $700 million in buildings and improvements at all four of its campuses; increased undergraduate enrollment, and increased the diversity among students, faculty and staff; enhanced alumni and private support; and increased the University's endowment funds by almost 800 percent -- from $12 million to about $95 million in 2008. President Carothers was vocal, visible, and visionary in his efforts to curb alcohol use at URI, in the state, and in the nation. In 1995 he strengthened the alcohol policy and substance abuse prevention programs, steps that led URI to shed its moniker as "a party school." He is renowned for his leadership on this issue that affects the health and safety of students at colleges nationwide.

President Carothers' vision for student education shifted students from being passive listeners to active learners and developed their concern for their neighbors, whether across the street or across an ocean. As a result of this and other improvements, in 2005, the same college guide that had earlier labeled URI as the top party school, instead named it a "college with a conscience."

Prior to his arrival at URI, Carothers was chancellor of the Minnesota State University System, which included seven universities and 64,000 students. Before becoming chancellor, he had served as president of Southwest State University. He has the unique distinction of being a poet, lawyer, scholar, and administrator.

By the end of his tenure, President Carothers had awarded more than 44,500 degrees, representing over 38 percent of all degrees conferred since 1892. President Carothers received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Edinboro University; his doctorate from Kent State University; and his Juris Doctor from the McDowell School of Law, University of Akron. More informaton is available at President Carother's tribute web site.

1983 - 1991
Edward D. "Ted" Eddy

President Eddy, known as "Ted" to many, was successful in enhancing the University's image nationally and abroad during his tenure. He was instrumental in expanding the Graduate School of Oceanography and improving its programs and research initiatives. He also secured a ten-year accreditation for the University from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. He fought for increased faculty wages, arguing that improved salaries would improve the University's curriculum and status. In general, President Eddy focused his efforts on developing a budget strategy to develop the University's potential, resolving issues related to decreased undergraduate enrollment and retention, cultivating the University's then nearly 76,000 alumni base, and promoting the uniqueness of the University and its excellence.

An authority on the nation's land grant college system, President Eddy came to URI with 29 years of higher education experience. He had served as president, vice president and in a variety of universities including Pennsylvania State University, Chatham College in Pittsburgh and the University of New Hampshire. President Eddy received his Bachelors and Ph.D. degrees in humanities at Cornell University and took a Masters of Divinity at Yale University.

On May 17, 1998 President Eddy and his wife, Mary, received honorary degrees from the University of Rhode Island in recognition of their valuable support and active participation in the improvement of public education in Rhode Island.

1974 - 1983
Frank Newman

President Frank Newman navigated the University through troubled times and reversed a tide of declining enrollment. He created the College of Human Science and Services, revamped the general education curriculum to emphasize global perspectives, launched the research vessel Endeavor, and recognized the importance of higher education in the lives of older students. President Newman was considered a visionary in the world of education and his influence continued after he left the University. He was the lead author of the Newman Report, an influential document filled with innovative ideas that served as a national blueprint for federal legislation related to public education. He served as president of the Education Commission of the States, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that helps governors, legislators and other state education leaders develop and implement policies that improve education.

President Newman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in naval science and economics and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Brown University. He earned an M.B.A. from Columbia, worked on a P.h.D at Stanford, and held three honorary doctoral degrees.

The University of Rhode Island honored its eighth president in 2002 by naming the Office of Admission building on 14 Upper College Road in his honor.

1968 - 1973
Werner A. Baum

Werner A. Baum had been the deputy administrator of the Environmental Science Services in the U. S. Department of Commerce before he was named as the University's seventh president.

As at universities nationwide, President Baum faced student protests, outcomes of actions taken at Kent State, and war. During his tenure, URI Library holdings few by 52 percent, he outlined plans for an addition to the Library and the University Club was built.

Before joining the Commerce Department, President Baum had served as vice president for scientific affairs at New York University, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculties at the University of Miami and earlier as dean of the Graduate School and dean of the faculties at Florida State. President Baum received his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology at the University Chicago.

1958 - 1967
Francis H. Horn

The University's sixth president, Francis "Fran" Horn led the University as it transitioned from a small 'country' college into what would become an internationally known university. When Horn came to campus in 1958, URI's enrollment was under 3,000, and the school received little recognition outside the state. State leaders often dismissed the University as a "cow college." Horn guided the campus through intense expansion in enrollment, faculty growth, programs, and buildings. He later served as president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of the State of New York, and vice president of New England College.

Before joining the University, Horn had served as distinguished professor of higher education at Southern Illinois University, as the president of Pratt Institute, and dean of the evening division at Johns Hopkins. President Horn received degrees in English from Dartmouth and the University of Virginia before receiving his Ph.D. in education from Yale University.

1941 - 1958
Carl R. Woodward

Carl Woodward came to the Rhode Island State College as president, and just one year later became president of The University of Rhode Island. President Woodward led the charge to grant the college with its university status. Having started as URI's fifth president just one month before Pearl Harbor, President Woodward led the University and through the war and postwar periods and outlined plans for later growth and service. Before joining what was then the Rhode Island State College, President Woodward had served as assistant to the president and secretary at Rutgers. President Woodward earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

1931 - 1940
Raymond G. Bressler

President Raymond Bressler joined the Rhode Island State College and served during the depression years. He strongly believed in fulfilling the College's obligations as a Land Grant college to make higher education very accessible to all Rhode Islanders. He responded to the depression by maximizing enrollment to educate students who could not find jobs. Bressler also began to lobby in favor of changing the College to a university, largely to increase the institution's prestige.

During his tenure, the Public Works Administration provided funding for construction of several new buildings. These included Eleanor Roosevelt Hall, a women's dormitory, Quinn Hall, home of the School of Home Economics, a new dairy barn, and Green Hall, which housed the Library and the administration offices. In addition, Lippitt Hall and Edwards Hall were remodeled. Prior to his appointment Bressler was Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for the state of Pennsylvania, he had been an English professor at Texas A. and M., chairman of the Department of Rural Education Extension at the University of Texas, and vice dean of Agriculture at Pennsylvania State College.

1906 - 1930
Howard Edwards

Howard Edwards was the University's longest serving president. During his 24-year tenure, what was then the Rhode Island College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts was renamed Rhode Island College.

President Edwards fostered the URI's growth from what once was a tiny agricultural school into a full-fledged college. For example, President Edwards opened the educational opportunities for women by first developing the College's program in Home Economics, oversaw establishment of ROTC on campus, and he continually promoted advancements in curriculum and programs. Enrollment doubled during Edwards' tenure and Ranger, Washburn, Bliss, Edwards, Rodman, and Lippitt Halls were built.

Prior to joining the college, President Edwards had been professor of English and modern languages at Michigan Agricultural College, and had taught at the University of Arkansas, and at an Academy in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Earlier he was a teacher and professor at the Bingham School in North Carolina and the Bethal Military Academy.

He received degrees at the Michigan State College, Brown University, and the University of Arkansas.

1903 - 1906
Kenyon L. Butterfield

Before joining the Rhode Island College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts, President Kenyon Butterfield had been an Instructor in Rural Sociology at the University of Michigan. He also had served as superintendent to the Michigan Farmers' Institute and as field agent for the Michigan Agricultural College, and earlier was editor to the Michigan Grange Visitor. President Butterfield had received a B.S. from Michigan Agricultural College and an A.M. degree from the University of Michigan.

1892-1902
John Hosea Washburn

John H. Washburn was appointed to be principal of the Rhode Island Agricultural School. The land for the college had been appropriated for Rhode Island with the passage of the Morrill Act of 1862. Washburn's fete was to wrest the appropriation of land-grant status from Brown University for the Rhode Island Agricultural School to become the official land-grant institution in Rhode Island.

He had earned a Ph.D. at the University of Gattingen, Germany, in addition to degrees from the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Before becoming president, Washburn served as a Professor of chemistry at the Connecticut Agricultural College in Storrs, as the head of the Rhode Island Reform School in Providence and as a Massachusetts public school teacher.