American Airlines honors retiring CEO with matching gift to URI

KINGSTON, R.I. — January 22, 1999 — When American Airlines held a retirement party to honor Robert L. Crandall for 25 years of service, it wanted to recognize his commitment to the company and to education in a special way. During the fall party in Dallas, the home of American, the airline pledged $125,000 to the University of Rhode Island, which matched a donation made a year earlier by Crandall, retired chairman and chief executive officer. American’s and Crandall’s donations total $250,000 for the drive to transform Ballentine Hall. The goal of the fund drive, titled the Shareholders Campaign, is to raise $5.6 million in private donations to transform the College of Business Administration’s home on the Kingston Campus. To date, nearly $3.5 million has been raised toward that goal. The College will name a tiered classroom in honor of Crandall, a 1960 graduate of the College who grew up in Westerly. “Bob has always been very interested in education, and we thought this was appropriate recognition of his many contributions to our company,” said Tom Kiernan, senior vice president of human resources at American Airlines. “This is something meaningful on which he can reflect during his retirement.” Kiernan said Crandall’s philosophy was one that emphasized communication. “He loves to write,” Kiernan said. Crandall was pleased by American’s pledge in his honor, noting that “it was a wonderful gift entirely consistent with my interest in education in general and the University in particular.” Crandall said he made the initial $125,000 donation because “the University made a great contribution to moving me along in life. I went to several schools, and Rhode Island is my home state and the University is my home base so to speak. “It was instrumental in launching my career,” he said. “That influenced me to contribute and to come back to campus.” He said he has enjoyed returning as an Executive In Residence, as a speaker at the University’s CEO Forum and as a member of the College’s Advisory Council. “It is both fun and very useful to stay in touch to learn what the current generation of students is thinking,” Crandall said. “I certainly think the Business College is moving in the right direction,” Crandall added. “Frank Budnick did an excellent job as interim dean and Ed Mazze is off to a great start.” Since last July, the College’s new dean, Dr. Edward M. Mazze, has been leading a “full force effort” to raise the remaining funds needed to close the Shareholders Campaign for the renovation of Ballentine Hall. “I am 100 percent committed to this renovation,” Mazze said. “A new Ballentine Hall is critical to ensuring that the University’s College of Business Administration becomes New England’s center for management education.” Cameron Jones, URI assistant director of development who works with the College of Business Administration, applauded the generosity of both Crandall and American Airlines. “We really appreciate all of Bob’s efforts on behalf of the College, and the decision by one of this country’s great airlines to match Bob’s gift. Their combined gift of $250,000 gives the Shareholders Campaign some great momentum.” The Shareholders Campaign, is a drive to support the transformation of the 50,000-square-foot Ballentine Hall. Built in 1967, the facility will gain a 10,000-square-foot addition, a new exterior and totally redesigned