URI announces $1.4 Million in new gifts for URI Convocation Center

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 16, 1999 — Just as the new season of men’s and women’s basketball gets under way at the University of Rhode Island, the URI Convocation Center Campaign is in full swing and showing strong early success. Nine months into the three-year campaign, and just entering the “public” phase of the fund-raising effort, URI President Robert L. Carothers and Thomas M. Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVS Corp. announced today that $1.4 million in new gifts have been made to the $15 million private fund-raising drive for the Convocation Center. The recent gifts bring the total raised to $7.06 million, which is 47 percent of the overall goal, for the campaign which began in February. The latest round of pledges was spearheaded by a URI Foundation gift of $400,000, a Providence Journal Charitable Foundation gift of $100,000 and three other gifts of $100,000 or more. A total of 52 gifts has been received toward the campaign, with 13 gifts of $100,000 or more, 18 of $10,000 or more, and 21 others of various amounts. “The extraordinary success of this campaign as we move into the more public phase provides a firm foundation upon which we will now continue to build,” said Ryan, who co-chairs the project’s Blue Ribbon Steering Committee, established to lead the private fund-raising drive with Gov. Lincoln C. Almond (URI ‘59). “At this juncture, the corps of volunteers led by my fellow alum, Joe Formicola (URI ‘69), as head of the Major Gifts Committee, will fan out to meet with the more than 400 potential individual and corporate donors they have identified. I’m certain these volunteers will be met with the same warmth and enthusiasm that each of the initial and recent donors to the Convocation Center has shown through their generosity.” “The strong support for the new Convocation Center as evidenced by these recent gifts clearly shows that this is the right time for the University to capture the Keaney spirit in a new venue,” said URI President Robert L. Carothers. “Early in the next century, the new Convocation Center will unmistakably reflect the pride of our students, alumni, business leaders, elected officials, and our friends as it opens its doors to the University community and the state.” Recent support for the project has come from Rhode Island businesses, alumni and friends of the University. Among the recent donors are: Blair J. Barbieri ’61 of Narragansett, and his sons Ralph ’83, and James ’84; Frank N. Caruso ’67 of Bristol, who is a member of the Convocation Center Campaign’s Major Gifts Committee; Gerald Cohen ’62 of East Greenwich, president of Die Tech Industries, Ltd. of Providence, who is also a Major Gifts Committee member; The Considine Family, including William, Sr., William, Jr. ’55 and Robert ’60. Considine is head of Wayne Distributors in Cranston; Frank J. ’69 and Joan ’70 Feraco of Providence, Mr. Feraco is president of Textron Industrial Products in Providence and a member of the Leadership Gifts Committee; Paul M. ’51 and Janet ’57 Fradin of Providence, Mr. Fradin is president of the Charles Fradin, Inc.-Copley Distributors; George Graboys Hon.’92 of Providence, former chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., and URI adjunct professor and executive-in-residence; Dr. Douglas M. ’67 and Arlene Mellion of Cranston; H. Douglas Randall ’71 of Charlestown, owner of HD Randall Realtors/Better Homes and Gardens; Anthony J. Rose Jr. ’54 and his wife, Kathleen, of Wakefield. Mr. Rose is president and CEO of Technical Industries in Peace Dale, and Leadership Gifts Committee member; Westerly Area Friends of URI Athletics (WAFURIA), a group of supporters in the Westerly area; Alan H. Wasserman ’75 of Cranston, a Major Gifts Committee member and president of the URI Alumni Association; and Maurice Zarchen ’49 of Kingston, former URI director of athletics and president of WorldTek Travel of Barrington. “This level of response and commitment clearly indicates how receptive our alumni and friends are toward the Convocation Center project,” said Robert M. Beagle, vice president of URI’s Division of University Advancement, which is heading the campaign. “At the same time, many of these and other donors have also continued to support critical campaigns for renovations of our academic buildings, and annual giving campaigns. Overall, the level of support shown here is consistent with the overall increased level of giving we have seen at the University over the past eight years,” Beagle added. Financing for the $43.6 million Convocation Center project will include $15 million in private gifts, $18 million in state appropriations, and $10.6 million in revenue bonds. The project also calls for a separate ice skating facility. The Convocation Center, the largest building project ever at URI, is designed to host basketball games and other athletic contests, in addition to major University celebrations, such as commencement and convocation ceremonies, alumni programs, concerts, and major cultural events. The Center will seat 8,000, and in a given year, is expected to host 30 men’s and women’s basketball games and about 50 other events. Groundbreaking for the project is expected to be held this spring, with project completion slated for the fall of 2002. Gilbane Building Co. is the project’s program manager, and HOK Sport, a Kansas City architectural and engineering firm, is the architect. URI long ago outgrew its largest venue, Keaney Gymnasium, which was completed in 1953 for a student body of 2,183. The University now enrolls about 10,700 undergraduate and 3,600 graduate students, and has about 2,500 employees. x-x-x For More Information: Linda Acciardo or Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116