Big Ideas. Bold Plans.

Big Ideas. Bold Plans.

Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for the University of Rhode Island Advances the University and Surpasses Its Initial Goal

When the campaign launched publicly in fall 2020, its goal was to reach $250 million in 2024. The University surpassed that target more than a year ahead of schedule and continues on toward its elevated goal of $300 million. The effects of the campaign, and the purpose of those lofty goals, have made their way across URI’s campuses to benefit students, faculty, and programs that span academic disciplines and areas of interest.

URIFAE Board Chair Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67, M.B.A. ’72, Hon. ’04, Campaign Leadership Phase Chair Michael D. Fascitelli ’78, Hon. ’08, URI Trustee, Former URIFAE Board Chair Thomas M. Ryan ’75, Hon. ’99, President Marc Parlange, President Emeritus David M. Dooley
URIFAE Board Chair Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67, M.B.A. ’72, Hon. ’04, Campaign Leadership Phase Chair Michael D. Fascitelli ’78, Hon. ’08, URI Trustee, Former URIFAE Board Chair Thomas M. Ryan ’75, Hon. ’99, President Marc Parlange, President Emeritus David M. Dooley

As a result of years of strategic work by the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement, URI has benefitted from a remarkable outpouring of generosity from alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations supporting areas that matter to them. The campaign has brought landmark gifts from some of the University’s most successful alumni while also demonstrating the power of collective effort as tens of thousands of alumni gifts work together to make big things happen.

These recent highlights demonstrate the great range of new possibilities taking shape as a result of the campaign, providing unique learning opportunities, inspirational financial aid, advanced research, and meaningful connections for thousands across the URI community.

Lil Breul O’Rourke
President, URI Foundation and Alumni Engagement

Al Verrechia'a signature

Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67 M.B.A.’72 Hon.’04
Chairman of the Board, URI Foundation and Alumni Engagement

Career Day hosted by the College of Business

Alfred J. Verrecchia Endowed Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Business Analytics

URI welcomed Zhu “Drew” Zhang this spring as the inaugural Alfred J. Verrecchia Endowed Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Business Analytics. As chair, Zhang will lead curriculum development, mentor faculty and graduate students, direct research, and relate his expertise to students in the classroom. His areas of expertise include AI, natural language processing, machine learning, and social network analysis. Zhang holds a Ph.D. in information and computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in information systems from Fudan University, and a B.E. from Tongji University, both in China.

Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67, M.B.A. ’72, Hon. ’04, chair of the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement Board, and his wife Geraldine Verrecchia made a multi-part gift to set the tone for a successful comprehensive campaign. The Verrecchia Chair is just the latest facet of that visionary gift to make news at the University.

Donor Voices

The campaign has inspired alumni to find new ways to connect with URI, such as supporting students or joining a volunteer committee or council. For many of these alumni, it isn’t about the amount of time or money; it’s about finding the right way to get involved with what matters to them.

Linda Checchi Kavan ’94, P ’24

What inspired you to give?
Participation is key—start from the beginning and give what you can. As a member of the URI Parents Council, I have seen firsthand the impact of fund-raising. What better way to positively influence the future of our students?

What are your hopes for today’s students?
I hope they remain curious and open to learning and embracing new ideas. I believe URI allows students to think outside the box and be resourceful. Keep growing, and build upon the foundation that your education provided. Lastly, they should have grit, something I consider to be a life must.

Why is it important for alumni to support students?
Supporting students is a full-circle opportunity to give back. We were once in their shoes. There are so many avenues for giving, including RhodyNow, scholarships, food pantry, and more. Choose something about which you feel passion, and follow through with a gift. Every contribution matters.

“I just thought of how fortunate we have been and wanted to do my small part to hopefully make some student’s day, week, or month a bit easier.”
Tom Carroll ’81 P ’20

Tom Carroll ’81, P’20

What inspired you to give?
I was inspired to give after learning about students not having the ability to travel home and some who face financial hardships. Initially I thought about larger expenditures, not realizing money for everyday living like gas, food, or tolls was much needed. I just thought of how fortunate we have been and wanted to do my small part to hopefully make some student’s day, week, or month a bit easier. Having my youngest at school during part of COVID helped put things in perspective.

What are your hopes for today’s students?
I hope that they will be able to enjoy all aspects of college life, not just studies, but participating in activities, campus life, developing friendships that can last a lifetime (as I’ve been fortunate to have). To take advantage of all the knowledge and resources that our University can offer to help prepare them for not only graduation but life in general. Don’t forget to have fun along the way!

Why is it important for alumni to support students?
They are our future. Let’s arm them with as much knowledge and experience as we can to make them productive adults who could effect change, knowing that the upcoming decades will be challenging on many levels.

Barcott-Kim Fellowship for Doctorates in Nursing

While the URI College of Nursing is on the rise in rankings, research funding, and enrollments, a nationwide nursing faculty shortage is forcing schools to turn away qualified applicants. The Dr. Donna Schwartz-Barcott and Dr. Hesook Suzie Kim Nursing Fellowship, named for two distinguished former URI professors, aims to change that.

Through collective participation, a new fellowship for the College of Nursing has reached $1.7 million. The Barcott-Kim Nursing Fellowship will attract Ph.D. and doctor of nursing practice candidates to create a new generation of nursing professors.

$600,000 in gifts from supporters at all levels triggered a $500,000 match from an anonymous donor and added to a core fund established by former students of Schwartz-Barcott. The campaign proved to be the ideal time to rally this kind of collective support and position URI to improve the nursing pipeline.

Vittimberga Professorship Is a Family Affair

A family legacy will carry on at URI with a new endowed professorship. The College of Health Sciences has awarded the inaugural Dr. Glenda L. Vittimberga ’88 Endowed Professorship in Psychology to Ellen Flannery-Schroeder, professor and director of training in clinical psychology.

The late Glenda Vittimberga graduated summa cum laude from URI and went on to become a renowned child psychologist. Her siblings, also URI alumni, established the scholarship to honor her memory and deepen multigenerational family ties to the University. Their parents, the late Bruno Vittimberga, Ph.D. and Jacklyn Vittimberga, Ph.D. were both accomplished academics and professors in the field of chemistry at URI.

Professor Flannery-Schroeder has worked on the prevention and treatment of anxiety disorders for children and adolescents for more than 30 years and has written numerous articles and book chapters on the topic.

“Our family is delighted at the appointment of Dr. Flannery-Schroeder as the Dr. Glenda L. Vittimberga ’88 Endowed Professor. Glenda was an exceptional educator and clinician. Her work with children with disabilities, as well as her work with future psychologists in her role as a professor, will have a positive ripple effect in the lives of those she impacted.”
Gail Vittimberga Gay ’82, P ’18

When We Work Together

The comprehensive campaign has inspired alumni and friends to contribute at all levels, giving an amount that worked for them to areas of personal interest. Smaller gifts working together—anywhere from $1 to $10,000—have amounted to tens of millions for students and faculty.

Top Participation Gift Areas

  • RhodyNow: $10.3M
  • Athletics: $6.9M
  • Scholarships: $5.4M
  • Innovative and Distinctive Programs: $2.8M
  • Teaching and Research: $0.9M
  • Other: $2.7M

Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering Becomes Global Nexus

Just before the fall semester began, the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering became home to the only electron probe microanalyzer in the United States. The installation of the device in the Shimadzu Engineering Research Core Facilities provided a fortuitous opportunity for an International Engineering Program (IEP) student to put his multifaceted skills to use.

Engineering student Kevin Suggs ’23
Kevin Suggs ’23

Kevin Suggs ’23 served as an interpreter to the installation team of Japanese scientists, sharpening his language abilities before embarking on his IEP year in Japan. Suggs came to URI through the Talent Development program and has received the Boren Scholarship and Demers Foreign Language Fellowship, both highly competitive, prestigious awards.

The Fascitelli Center, dedicated early in the campaign to honor the generosity of Michael D. Fascitelli ’78, Hon. ’08 and Elizabeth C. Fascitelli, is living up to its promise of providing a home for state-of-the-art advanced research equipment, drawing top engineers from around the world, and giving students one-of-a-kind educational experiences.

Thomas M. Ryan Professor of Neuroscience

Thomas M. Ryan Professor of Neuroscience

The George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience recently named John K. Robinson as the Thomas M. Ryan Professor of Neuroscience. The support provided by this endowed professorship will allow Robinson to further his crucial research on understanding risk factors for dementia and related conditions.

Since the Ryan Institute drew him to URI, Robinson has contributed his teaching and service to the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, and the Division of Research and Economic Development.

Attracting accomplished researchers to share their knowledge and talent with students and colleagues across the University was just one of the reasons for Thomas M. Ryan ’75, Hon. ’99, and Cathy Ryan’s foundational gifts to establish the Ryan Institute. Their campaign gift of $35 million includes $24 million dedicated specifically to advance and expand the work of the institute to seek breakthroughs in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease.

85%toward new $300M goal

Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for URI has made all of these things and more possible, advancing URI and creating new opportunities across five strategic areas:

  • Student Access
  • The URI Learning Experience
  • Transformative Faculty Leadership
  • Innovative and Distinctive Programs
  • Strategic Opportunities

Harrington School Brings Big Names, Advanced Tech to Campus

URI President Marc Parlange, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jeannette E. Riley, Director of the Harrington School Ammina Kothari, Richard J. Harrington ’73, Hon. ’02, John King ’85, Hon. ’10, and Jean Harrington (l-r) cut the ribbon with Harrington students and Rhody.

The unveiling of renovations to Ranger Hall this past fall brought Richard J. Harrington ’73, Hon. ’02, former CEO of Thomson Reuters, and CNN chief national correspondent John King ’85, Hon. ’10, back to the Quad. They joined students, faculty, and alumni, as well as members of the neighboring community to see the upgraded, technologically advanced home of the Harrington School of Communication and Media.

A media screen in the interior of the renovated Ranger Hall

The expansion has been driven significantly by the support of Richard and Jean Harrington, who pledged $4 million to the Harrington School in 2019, raising their cumulative support to $12 million. URI named the school in honor of Richard Harrington in 2009, and he currently serves as chair of Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for URI.

Renovations added 23,600 square feet of space, including active learning classrooms, a film production lab, video editing suites, and other facilities that give students unique, hands-on experiences and position URI as a leader in the field of communications.