Announcing interim vice president for administration and finance appointment

April 11, 2023

To Members of Our URI Community,

I am pleased to share that Abby Benson has been appointed interim vice president for administration and finance, effective May 14, 2023.

As interim vice president, Abby will oversee several key areas of the University—including facilities, risk management, human resources, budget and finance, public safety, and purchasing. For the next several weeks, she will work closely with outgoing Vice President Abigail Rider, who announced her retirement earlier this year. Their ongoing work together, and their close collaboration over the next month, will help to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

Abby joined URI in December 2021 and has served as the University’s senior advisor to the president and chief of staff. In that role, she has developed a deep understanding of the many facets of our University and fostered strong working relationships with colleagues across our campuses. She was instrumental in helping to lead the development of our new 10-year strategic plan, Focus URI, and is ideally positioned to help us successfully execute the four strategic priorities outlined in that plan.

Abby brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to this role. Prior to joining URI, she served as deputy chief operating officer at the University of Colorado Boulder, helping to oversee the university’s facilities, public safety, compliance, finance, communications, human resources, enrollment management, and information technology divisions. During a decade-long tenure at CU, she also held leadership roles as associate vice chancellor and chief of staff for strategic resources and support, assistant vice chancellor for research and innovation, and associate vice president for government relations.

Prior to her time in Colorado, Abby was the assistant director of the Washington, D.C., office of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A native Rhode Islander, Abby began her career as a geologist in environmental consulting and served for nearly 10 years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Abby is a graduate of Yale University, with a bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics, and MIT, with a Master of Science degree in transportation and a Master of Engineering in logistics.

As Abby transitions into this new role, Chelsea Berry will serve as interim chief of staff and Emily Diomandes will assume additional responsibilities in the Office of the President as deputy chief of staff.

Please join me in thanking Abby for her willingness to serve URI during this important new chapter in our University’s long history. And please also join me in again thanking Abbi Rider for her dedicated service and many contributions to URI.

Marc Parlange