Northeastern athletic development director named to head private fund drive for URI Convocation Cent


KINGSTON, R.I. — December 29, 1998 — The University of Rhode Island has taken an important step forward in its drive to build a new Convocation Center by hiring Robert M. Turcotte as the director of the center’s private fund-raising campaign, it was announced today by Robert M. Beagle, URI’s vice president for university advancement and chair of the search committee that selected Turcotte from a national field of 50.

Turcotte, of Newtonville, Mass., leaves his post as director of athletic development at Northeastern University, a position he held since 1996. He begins his duties at URI Jan. 4.

Turcotte, who will report directly to Beagle, will solicit gifts and provide support for the volunteers and development staff during their solicitation efforts for the University’s Convocation Center, a $43.6 million facility of which $15 million will be raised through private donations.

The Convocation Center will host a wide array of events, including cultural and entertainment programs, nationally known speakers, athletic contests, and commencement and convocation ceremonies.

Turcotte, a Woonsocket native, whose parents still live in the Northern Rhode Island city, brings to URI 13 years of progressively more responsible experience in athletic administration, sports management and fund-raising in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletics. He has been successful in major gift fund-raising within a campaign setting, as well as with large-scale prospect management on an annual basis.

“He’s very enthusiastic about the project,” Beagle said. ” We are impressed that he was a major gifts officer in a capital campaign, and that he’s been a successful athletics fund-raiser and athletic facilities manager. He is a highly energized person.”

As the director of athletic development at Northeastern, Turcotte has managed the daily operations of a division that is responsible for an average of $1.7 million in gift commitments and $1.2 million in cash payments annually over the last five years, with a sustained 15 to 25 percent annual growth rate. Projects completed under his direction include a $16 million Student Recreation Complex, a $1.8 million hockey arena expansion and renovation and an $800,000 Varsity Club Room renovation.

Before his current position at Northeastern, Turcotte served as associate director of athletic development and sports marketing and athletic ticket manager at the private university in Boston, which enrolls a total of 30,000 students, 11,000 of them undergraduates. He also held positions as a marketing research assistant for Bob Woolf Associates Inc. in Boston and the Flynn Recreation Complex facility supervisor at Boston College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston College and his master’s in sport and recreation management from Northeastern.

Turcotte is excited to be returning to Rhode Island for what he says is a great project.

“Being a Rhode Island native, and following Rhode Island sports, I know how exciting it is right now at URI. I am very impressed with Bob Beagle, President (Robert L.) Carothers and Gov. (Lincoln) Almond, and their commitment to the project. This is good for the state, good for the school. A project like this transcends athletics and I have seen what these kinds of facilities can do to transform a campus,” Turcotte said.

Turcotte is the son of Robert and Linda Turcotte, who still live in the Woonsocket home where he was raised. His father was a state probation and parole officer for 30 years before retiring a couple of years ago.

Turcotte and his wife, Sharon, have a 4-year-old son, Maxwell, and are expecting their second child in March.


The Convocation Center, with a minimum 7,500-8000-seat arena, is one of the largest design and construction projects in the University’s history. Its construction and maintenance will be funded similarly to other such major facilities — through a combination of private donations, state support, naming opportunities, ticket surcharges, student fees, university-issued bonds and revenue from luxury and club seats.

Convocation Centers exist at major universities to provide facilities to house large-scale events for the benefit of the campus and surrounding communities. The facility will also have the capacity and the technology needed for large conferences, business meetings, and civic functions to serve the community. This center will afford the University the opportunity to present an expanded list of events to enrich the lives of its students and all Rhode Islanders.

The University of Rhode Island is a community of nearly 17,000 people—currently enrolling 14,319 undergraduate and graduate students and employing approximately 700 faculty and nearly 1,800 professional and support staff.

For Further Information: Linda A. Acciardo 401-874-2116