URI Provost Emeritus Donald H. DeHayes establishes endowed fund for Honors Program

Endowed fund will enhance one of nation’s earliest honors programs

Kingston, R.I. – May 31, 2022 – The University of Rhode Island announced that Donald H. DeHayes, recently retired provost and vice president for academic affairs, made a gift to create an endowed fund to expand the URI Honors Program and inspire students to pursue unique research and learning opportunities.

The Donald H. DeHayes Provost Honors Excellence Endowment will award a $1,000 prize annually for an honors program student who has completed the program with the highest level of academic achievement. 

“We look forward to selecting a student, like this year’s, who embodies the ideals of the Honors Program,” said Lynne Derbyshire, director of the Honors Program. “We will review academic achievement, creativity and impact of honors projects, and the student potential for future contributions to society.”

The award will be presented each year at the Annual Honors Program Symposium and Recognition Ceremony and will include a Certificate of Excellence in Honors and a check for $1,000 to be used at the discretion of the recipient, preferably applied toward further educational endeavors. The recipient will also represent the Honors Program at the University Academic Excellence Award Ceremony and will receive an academic excellence medallion to be worn at commencement. The 2022 inaugural recipient of the Honors Excellence Award was Patrice Geffrard, a dual economics/political science major, whose honors research investigated the relationship between income inequality, social reproduction, and economic growth.

“I had the pleasure of working with URI faculty, staff, and students for more than 13 years,” said DeHayes. “I have witnessed the growth of the Honors Program and the positive impact it has had on students, the University, and the broader community. I made this gift to recognize and celebrate our most distinctly capable and motivated students who excel in this amazing program and to provide resources to inspire future honors students as well as to expand the impact and prestige of the program.”

In addition to funding the Honors Excellence Award, the endowment will also create the Office of National Fellowships Assistance Fund in the URI Honors Program to support URI students pursuing highly prestigious national and international fellowships. As the endowment grows over time, additional funds may be applied to support excellence in the Honors Program, such as funding for student projects and/or the pre-health advising program, which prepares students who will pursue graduate and medical degrees in health care.

The URI Honors Program was established in 1969, making it one of the earliest such programs in the nation. It provides unique interdisciplinary learning options and provides undergraduates the opportunity to develop research with a faculty mentor. The program hosts the Honors Colloquium, a signature annual event, while also assisting students in applying for prestigious fellowships and advanced degrees.