University of Rhode Island exceeds $300 million campaign goal ahead of schedule

Collective support from alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations benefits areas across the University

KINGSTON, R.I.—June 3, 2024—The University of Rhode Island has surpassed its elevated campaign goal of $300 million ahead of the official end date of June 30, 2024. Conducted by the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement (URIFAE), Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for the University of Rhode Island, a comprehensive effort to advance the University through philanthropic gifts, was publicly launched in 2020 with an initial goal of $250 million. More than 34,000 individuals, including alumni, family, friends, faculty, staff, corporations, and foundations contributed in large and small amounts to reach the goal.

“The tremendous success of this campaign is proof of what we can do when we work together,” said URI President Marc Parlange. “The University of Rhode Island’s students, faculty, and staff are exceptionally hard-working, talented, and innovative, and thanks to this effort, we can provide them with what they need to make a difference here on campus, in our community, and around the world.”

“The University of Rhode Island was foundational to my career,” said Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67, MBA ’72, Hon. ’04, current chair of the URIFAE Board of Directors, “and because of this campaign, today’s generation of students will find new opportunities to succeed. I am grateful to everyone who supported this effort and to all of those who continue to be involved. This is a significant achievement, but we are not done yet.”

An extensive planning process involving alumni, volunteer leaders, faculty, and staff defined a strategic effort that spanned five pillars: student access, the URI learning experience, transformative faculty leadership, innovative and distinctive programs, and strategic opportunities.

“URI has advanced significantly in recent years with the support of alumni and the state,” said Margo Cook ’86, chair of the URI Board of Trustees. “We are executing on our vision and strategy to provide excellent educational opportunities, advance our research mission, and grow as Rhode Island’s premier higher education institution.”

“During the planning phase, we saw this as a chance to elevate the whole University,” said Thomas M. Ryan ’75, Hon. ’99, who was chair of the URIFAE Board of Directors at the campaign’s launch. “The achievements made possible by this campaign have inspired students and faculty and brought well-earned recognition to the exceptional quality of our teaching, research, and athletics programs.”

The campaign has set historic marks for URI in terms of overall participation as well as transformative individual gifts. Some of the highlights include:

  • Thomas M. Ryan ’75, Hon.’99 and his wife Cathy Ryan made a $35 million gift to expand research and teaching capacity in neuroscience, create a scholars program to attract high-performing students, and support athletics.
  • Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67, MBA’72, Hon.’04 and his wife Geraldine Verrecchia made a $15 million gift in support of the College of Business that creates a scholarship for high-achieving students, a fund for students pursuing competitive internships, a faculty chair as well as a professorship in artificial intelligence and business analytics, and an emerging technology fund.
  • Michael D. Fascitelli ’78, Hon. ’08 and his wife Elizabeth C. Fascitelli made a $10 million gift for advanced equipment and dean’s priorities in the College of Engineering.
  • S. Kent Fannon ’74 and Diane Chace Fannon ’74 made a $6 million gift to advance the renovation of Ballentine Hall and support the Center for Student Success at the College of Business.
  • $8 million in campaign gifts from Richard J. Harrington ’73, Hon. ’02 and his wife Jean Harrington supported the renovation of Ranger Hall and other priorities for the Harrington School of Communication and Media.
  • More than 22,000 individuals gave varying gifts to RhodyNow, providing immediate-use funding for the University’s most timely priorities.

As a result of these gifts and many others, URI has raised more than $71 million for financial aid, brought in cutting-edge scientific equipment, built and renovated classrooms and labs for enhanced teaching and learning, upgraded athletics facilities, expanded experiential learning opportunities for students to launch their careers, and more.

“The campaign has really accelerated growth across the University,” said Richard J. Harrington ’73, Hon. ’02, campaign chair. “Along with helping students and faculty, it brings recognition to the areas where URI already excels while helping newer programs scale up.”

During the campaign, the University has seen its global profile rise while also receiving substantial investment from the state through increased allocations in the budget. In the same timeframe, URI received voter approval for two state bonds, one that supports renovations and construction on the Fine Arts Center and one for improvements to the Narragansett Bay Campus.

“This is the biggest campaign in URI’s history, and what we have achieved is remarkable,” said URIFAE President Lil Breul O’Rourke. “I want to thank our extraordinary community of alumni and friends who got involved, attended events, offered their support, and who altogether embody Rhody pride. Together, we are transforming URI into a leading global research institution driving positive social, cultural, and environmental change.”  

The campaign will continue through its planned end date on June 30, 2024. While the achievements of the campaign elevate URI to a new tier among flagship public research universities, it also lays the foundation for continued growth and improvement for years to come.