$1 million gift to advance URI basketball facilities

Media Contact: Austen Farrell, 401-874-9522 |

KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 12, 2020 – The University of Rhode Island announced a $1 million gift from James ’80, P’17 and Doreen Clappin P’17 to benefit the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The gift will also count toward Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for The University of Rhode Island.

The new funding will support renovation of the West Gym in the Tootell Athletic Complex, intended to upgrade practice facilities and help with the recruitment of top prospects. The University plans to transform the existing gym as well as adjacent corridors that are connected to the primary basketball facilities in the Ryan Center.

“Jim and Doreen continue to demonstrate their commitment to driving URI Athletics forward and giving our student-athletes a competitive advantage,” said Thorr Bjorn, Athletics director. “We are all grateful, and I know how much this will mean to the men and women of Rhody basketball.”

This gift continues the Clappins’ leadership in support of URI Athletics, following a $1 million contribution two years prior for a new synthetic turf field and lights at Meade Stadium.

“I am a proud alum and we are proud parents of a recent graduate,” said James Clappin. “Doreen and I recognize how important a successful athletics program is for the Rhody community, and we want to create the best possible experience for the next generation of student-athletes.”

James Clappin was recognized in 2013 with a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Rhode Island College of Engineering, and again in 2020 with a URI President’s Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a member of the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement Campaign Committee, which is leading the largest fund-raising initiative in the University’s history with a goal of $250 million.

Clappin is vice chairman at Corning Incorporated. After earning a B.S. in chemical engineering, Clappin joined Corning Incorporated as a process engineer at the Central Falls, R.I., manufacturing plant. He transitioned to GTE Corporation in 1983 when the facility was sold and returned to Corning in 1988. He has remained at Corning and risen through the ranks to reach his current position.