R.I. Limb owner establishes scholarship for URI physical therapy program

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

R.I. Limb owner establishes scholarship
for URI physical therapy program
Donation is outgrowth of relationship
between Cranston firm, URI

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 16, 2002 — For William “Bill” Teoli, establishing a scholarship at the University of Rhode Island was simply a matter of honoring his late father and “supporting your home university.”

Through a $15,000 donation, the owner of Rhode Island Limb Co. established the Albert P. Teoli Sr. Endowed Scholarship to benefit a URI physical therapy graduate student who is interested in prosthetics. It is the first endowed scholarship in the program, which is housed in the College of Human Science and Services. In addition to the initial gift, Teoli will make another gift in the fall totaling $750 to fund the scholarship for the 2003 academic year. Earnings on the endowment will fund the scholarship in the future.

“This honors my father, a World War II veteran and amputee who began in the prosthetics business and then took over ownership of the company in 1958,” Teoli said. “It’s also a chance to enhance the URI Physical Therapy program, which enrolls talented, hard-working and compassionate students.”

The scholarship is an outgrowth of a relationship between the physical therapy program and R.I. Limb, which is located in Cranston, which has been gaining strength over the past several years.

“When I asked Bill if he’d be willing to address prosthetics in my class on clinical diagnosis, he was eager to come to URI,” said Professor Mark Rowinski, the director of the program. “It was important for our students to work with Bill because he has extensive experience with amputees who have been treated at the Veterans Administration and Rhode Island hospitals.”

“Physical therapy and prosthetics professionals work together to help the patient recover and adapt to his or her prosthetic,” Rowinski said.

There are nearly 60 students enrolled in the 83-credit master’s degree program in physical therapy.

“While we offer a limited number of graduate assistantships to our students to help them offset the costs of study, we need to provide outright scholarship support,” Rowinski said. “This gift by Bill we hope will spur alumni and other agencies to further support our program and its students.”

Paul Witham, associate vice president of development, said Teoli’s generosity points to his deep love and respect for his father and his interest in seeing URI remain a leader in physical therapy. “What better tribute can there be than a scholarship in one parent’s name, especially if it enhances study in the area that was so important in the quality of life of that parent,” Witham said. “Such a gift also demonstrates a businessman’s faith in the quality of URI. We are deeply appreciative.”

Rowinski said one of the goals of the program is getting physical therapists more involved in health care decision-making. That is accomplished by having students learn from and do clinical rotations with hospitals, prosthetic clinics, rehabilitation centers and other locations where physical therapy comes into play.

“Prosthetics is a field that is not well known,” Teoli said. “And things are changing so rapidly, we feel it is important to keep students up to date.”

Bob Larkin, a double-amputee and employee at R.I. Limb, was a teacher for about 30 years in Warwick. Now he is working in the field to help train physical therapists on new devices. “I have been very impressed with the URI physical therapy students here,” Larkin said. “They ask insightful questions, and they have all the background and knowledge you’d expect them to have at a top-flight physical therapy program.”

Teoli said he wants his company to become involved with the students’ clinical rotations.

“If our students can see the prosthetist at work, and see what the professional can deliver to the patient, there will be enhanced outcomes with that particular type of patient,” Rowinski said.

For Information: Mark Rowinski 401-874-5001.