2010 in Review – The News

KINGSTON, R.I. – December 31, 2010 – As we turn the page on 2010 and look ahead to 2011, URI Today will spend this week looking back on the highlights of 2010, breaking each day into a different category.

Today we look at the top URI news stories of 2010, of which there were plenty. From the inauguration of President David M. Dooley to the passing of Question 2 and the humanitarian voyages by the R/V Endeavor (pictured at left), it was a big year for the University.


In November, Rhode Island voters approved Question 2 on the ballot, paving the way for a new $61 million Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences at URI. The referendum is expected to create approximately 1,200 jobs over the next five years in construction, trades, architecture, engineering, management, teaching and research. When completed, the new chemistry center will allow faculty to compete more effectively for research grants, and move scientific discoveries into the marketplace more rapidly. As Rhode Island seeks to generate business and jobs, an educated workforce in these disciplines is vital.

April marked the first time in 35 years that the University held a formal inauguration ceremony, as David M. Dooley was installed as the 11th president of Rhode Island’s flagship public institution of research and higher learning. The inauguration saluted the University’s history and provided the opportunity for President Dooley to share his vision for the institution.

As disaster struck around the world, URI was there to help, thanks in large part to its research vessel Endeavor. In February, the Endeavor made its way to Haiti on a multi-purpose mission that included bringing humanitarian supplies collected by Plan USA to earthquake victims. Five months later, when the Gulf Coast was dealing with the oil spill disaster, the Endeavor was again called upon. This time, the URI ship transported scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to the scene of what has been called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Internationally recognized sex trafficking researcher Donna Hughes and her student, Melanie Shapiro, were lauded for their efforts in helping state legislators pass into state law bills that enabled law enforcement officers the ability to arrest sex traffickers. Hughes and Shapiro were praised by Gov. Donald Carcieri as he signed the legislation, finally giving Rhode Island laws against prostitution and forced labor trafficking.

In May, it was announced that E. Paul Larrat, associate dean of the College of Pharmacy, had been named a Congressional Fellow for his expertise on managing health care costs, optimizing pharmaceutical effectiveness and epidemiology. Larrat, began serving his year-long appointment in September 2010. From a nationwide competition, the East Greenwich resident was sponsored for the program by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and one of 30 chosen for the program by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.

There were plenty of other items of note this year. Among the other highlights were President Dooley becoming the first URI president to be appointed to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation; an agreement between URI and Far East University to create collaborative academic opportunities in both Korea and Kingston; historic murals were discovered during a renovation of Edwards Hall and Hope Dining Services once again winning national recognition.

Also in 2010, the new home for the $75 million College of Pharmacy continued to take shape, the University had two of its graduate programs rank among the top 10 in their respective fields nationally, and URI was named as one of 11 institutions nationally with exemplary teacher education programs.