URI raises campaign goal

Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for the University of Rhode Island aims for $300 million by 2024

Strategic Opportunities

The University of Rhode Island will raise the goal of its comprehensive campaign from $250 million to $300 million. The decision came just over a year after the public launch of Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for the University of Rhode Island.

Alumni, families, and friends of URI, as well as corporations and foundations, have given generously in areas spanning the campaign’s five priorities: student access, the URI learning experience, transformative faculty leadership, innovative and distinctive programs, and strategic opportunities. More than 27,000 individuals have contributed to the campaign to-date. Gifts large and small have amounted to $15 million for emerging priorities through RhodyNow for immediate use.

While philanthropic giving, applications, and research grants are all increasing at URI, the University also welcomed Marc B. Parlange, Ph.D. as its new president in August 2021. President Parlange began his tenure with the campaign underway, after it had been launched by the previous URI president, David M. Dooley.

“We are enormously grateful to our supporters for their inspiring generosity,” said Parlange. “Raising the goal will allow us to continue this momentum and enhance URI’s substantial contributions locally, nationally, and internationally. This level of philanthropy will attract and support students and faculty who are committed to making a difference through education, research, and engagement.”

Gifts of all sizes have driven the campaign to its current success. A selection of transformative gifts includes:

  • Thomas M. Ryan ’75 Hon.’99 and his wife Cathy made a $35 million gift to expand research and teaching capacity in neuroscience, create a scholars program to attract high-performing students, and provide support for athletics.
  • Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67 M.B.A.’72 Hon.’04 and his wife Geraldine 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 made a $10 million gift for advanced equipment and dean’s priorities in the College of Engineering.
  • Richard J. Harrington ’73 Hon. ’02 and his wife Jean have made gifts of nearly $8 million during the campaign for the Harrington School of Communication and Media within the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • S. Kent Fannon ’74 and Diane Chace Fannon ’74 made a $6 million gift to advance the renovation of the College of Business’ Ballentine Hall and support the College’s Center for Student Success.
  • Monica J. Garnes ’94 contributed more than $345,000 to athletics, scholarships, and the expansion and renovation of Ballentine Hall.
  • Kenneth Lawrence ’88 Pharm.D. ’90 established the Robert and Birdie Lawrence Endowed Scholarship to support students in the College of Pharmacy, with a preference for African American students.

While substantial investments have already taken place, a number of crucial initiatives remain. A new National Science Foundation-sponsored research vessel will arrive at the Graduate School of Oceanography’s Narragansett Bay Campus, requiring renovations to the pier and labs. While URI received voter approval for a state bond that supports renovations and construction on the Fine Arts Center, classrooms, performance spaces, and studios will need upgrades. The College of Business is planning a major renovation and expansion that will require additional funding to succeed. All of these projects, as well as new emerging priorities, will depend on the campaign and what it can achieve by 2024.

“The last two years have altered the higher education landscape,” said President Parlange. “Our faculty, staff, and students have shown remarkable resilience and creativity in dealing with this situation. I can’t imagine a better time for us to set the bar higher for this campaign.”

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