Rhode Island casts overwhelming yes vote for new College of Pharmacy

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 9, 2006 — Thirty-eight of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns approved the higher education bond issue that will provide $65 million for a new College of Pharmacy building at the University of Rhode Island.

Election-day approval of the $72.8 million Question 4 bond referendum will also provide $7.8 million to Rhode Island College.

“As Tuesday night’s election numbers came in, it was apparent that the people of Rhode Island recognized the quality of the programs offered by the University and voted to support them through the continuing rehabilitation of the campus at Kingston,” URI President Robert L. Carothers said in a message to the University. “We are grateful for their overwhelming support.

“It’s a great day for URI and the state of Rhode Island, and I congratulate everyone for work very well done,” Carothers said.

A total of 229,658 Rhode Islanders, or 62 percent of the vote, cast affirmative ballots.

“It is clear that the results of this election underscore voters’ resounding affirmation of the critical role that pharmacy plays in health care delivery, research, and the state’s economic infrastructure,” said Pharmacy Dean Donald E. Letendre. “It is very gratifying to know that future generations of pharmacy students will be educated in a facility that is in keeping with the ever-changing complexity and diverse needs of our health professions program and that our faculty and professional staff will be able to more fully showcase their talents as educators, researchers and patient care providers.”

Robert A. Weygand, vice president for administration and the chair of “Friends of Question 4,” said the approval is another big step in the development of health and life sciences at URI.

“This victory paves the way for the continued development of our North Campus District where we are building a hub for health and life sciences on the Kingston Campus. This campus will provide the educational and research base needed for our future science and technology park,” Weygand said. “Pharmacy is one of the keystones of this comprehensive project.”

Andrea M. Hopkins, the assistant vice president for public affairs at URI, said the victory did not surprise her because Letendre, pharmacy faculty, students and alumni did an outstanding job of educating people about the need for a new pharmacy building. She said Letendre and students advocated for the bond with the media.

“Dean Letendre also made visits to groups and agencies throughout the state,” she said. “Our students and faculty covered most of the top 100 polling places on Election Day passing out fliers.”