Hole-in-one winner at URI golf tourney gets his car

Cranston man wins 2011 Subaru for big shot at Quidnessett

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 9, 2011 – It was hard to tell who was happier, the guy who won the car or the one who donated it.

Robert Alvine, president and general manager of Premier Subaru of Branford, Conn., gathered with University of Rhode Island officials in late October just off the Quadrangle to present Mike Russo of Cranston a new Subaru Legacy for nailing a hole-in-one during a charity golf tournament in September.

It was much chillier recently in front of URI’s Ballentine Hall when Russo collected his prize from the 18th Annual Dr. Louis A. Luzzi Networking on the Links Golf Tournament. Proceeds benefit The Share of Tomorrow Fund at the College of Pharmacy and the College of Business Administration Scholarship Fund. It was held at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown.

Mark Higgins, dean of the College of Business Administration, said the two colleges combined their golf tournaments two years ago to offer an even better event. He said supporters like Alvine are the reason why people come back year after year.

“Bob has always been a loyal supporter of the College of Business Administration,” Higgins said during the ceremony. “He has always done what we have asked him to do. He was more than happy to donate a car for this year’s event. I don’t know who was happier when this happened, Bob or Mike.”

Higgins said money from the tournament supports scholarships for minority students in the business college. When he began as an accounting professor at URI in 1988, between 1 to 2 percent of business students were minority students. That rate is now 15 percent.

Because of Alvine’s strong connection to URI and his ability to help its business college, he was thrilled that someone won the car.

“I owe everything to URI and I hope the students here today feel the way I do when they become alumni,” Alvine said. “I have remained connected to URI since I graduated in 1988. I am a big proponent of the school. The people here are so important to me, and my closest friends are from my time at URI.”

Car-winner Russo was invited to play in a foursome organized by College of Pharmacy alumnus Greg Cianfarani, an East Greenwich resident who owns RXinsider, a multi-media and software development company in Warwick that serves a variety of healthcare disciplines and colleges.

“Everyone (from URI) has been so wonderful,” Russo said. “From the moment when the ball went in to today, everyone has been so enthusiastic, maybe even more than I have been.”

Ronald P. Jordan, dean of the College of Pharmacy, said the tournament was created 18 years ago in honor of the late Louis Luzzi, professor and dean of the college.

“We wanted to raise funds to support our students when they travel to regional and national conferences and national meetings by professional pharmacy organizations,” Jordan said. “The funding has also helped students obtain advanced certifications.”

Since the tournament’s inception, the College of Pharmacy has raised a total of $500,000 for student support.

Pictured above

HOLE-IN-ONE HAPPINES: Robert Alvine, ’88, right, president and general manager of Premier Subaru of Branford, Conn., congratulates Mike Russo of Cranston on winning a new Subaru Legacy for nailing a hole-in-one during a golf tournament run by the URI Colleges of Business Administration and Pharmacy in September. Proceeds from the tournament support business and pharmacy students. URI photo by Michael Salerno photography.