Steenecks’ $1.3 million gift to benefit URI College of Business facilities, and immediate and long-term priorities

KINGSTON, R.I. — June 21, 2021 — The University of Rhode Island announced that Craig D. ’80 and Sandra Steeneck have committed $1.3 million to advance the immediate and long-term priorities of the College of Business.

The gift is structured in three parts. A pledge of $250,000 will contribute to the renovation and expansion of Ballentine Hall and result in the naming of The Steeneck Family Student Lounge. A gift of $60,000 supports the immediate needs identified by RhodyNow: College of Business. The Steenecks’ estate plan provides $1 million to establish the Steeneck Family Endowed College of Business Excellence Fund. The endowment will provide funds for cutting-edge technology that will deliver a competitive advantage for faculty and students, as well as support study abroad and international guest speakers.

“I received a great education from the College of Business, and my accounting professors provided me with valuable career guidance that started me on a very successful path,” said Craig. “When we put together our estate plan, Sandra and I decided we wanted to support URI. We chose RhodyNow to help students and faculty immediately, and Ballentine Hall is an investment in real estate that will have an impact now and in the future. We believe in URI and appreciate the unique way it works for the betterment of the state of Rhode Island.”

The plans for Ballentine Hall include open teaching spaces and labs across more than 7,000 square feet of new space and 13,000 square feet of renovated space. The finished project will feature a center for business analytics and artificial intelligence, the Kent and Diane Fannon Student Success Center for career and academic advising and experiential learning, a new business applications prototyping lab, and more.

“The Steenecks’ generosity will ensure the success of our students and faculty now and in the future,” said Maling Ebrahimpour, dean of the College of Business. “They have both been very successful and they appreciate the importance of meeting the changing needs of the global economy. They have thoughtfully structured their contribution so we can implement immediate and long-term improvements.”

Craig earned his degree in accounting from URI in 1980 and started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New Jersey. He moved into corporate accounting and served in leadership positions until he retired as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Pinnacle Foods, Inc. in 2018. He has been a member of the board of directors for Freshpet since 2014, Hostess Brands since 2016, and Utz Brands since 2018.

Sandra is a former shopper marketing finance manager for Mondelez International in New Jersey. Previously, she was a consultant with Resources Global Professionals, and for more than 20 years held various senior finance roles at Reckitt Benckiser. 

The URI College of Business serves 2,100 undergraduates and almost 300 graduate students. It is AACSB accredited, the global gold standard of academic business school accreditation, and offers 10 undergraduate majors, seven graduate programs, and three Ph.D. specializations.