$15 million gift from former Hasbro CEO will advance College of Business in artificial intelligence, technology, and student access

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Alfred J. Verrecchia
Alfred J. Verrecchia

KINGSTON, R.I. -(December 5, 2019) – Alfred J. ’67, M.B.A. ’72, Hon. ’04 and Geraldine Verrecchia have made a $15 million gift to elevate the prominence of the College of Business at the University of Rhode Island.

The comprehensive gift 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.

In honor of the Verrecchias’ transformative gift and years of dedication to URI, the University will also establish the Alfred J. Verrecchia Center for Business Excellence, which will be a hub for teaching, learning, and research, meant to inspire the exchange of ideas and an entrepreneurial mindset.

“Our investment in URI is a direct result of our confidence in the leadership and vision of President Dooley,” said Al Verrecchia, former Hasbro chairman and CEO. “We have been impressed with the progress and all that has been accomplished at the University in the last several decades. We believe that URI will continue to push the boundaries of learning and technology, practical experience, and interdisciplinary thinking.”

“We have been very active at URI over the years,” said Gerrie Verrecchia. “In that time, we have seen firsthand the many ways the University can make a difference in people’s lives. We want to continue and expand those opportunities.”

The scholarship program will benefit students with demonstrated academic ability and leadership skills, beginning in fall 2020. The internship program will offer supplemental funds to students who have secured internships, easing their financial burden and freeing them to develop vital career experience before graduation.

The two faculty positions will draw top scholars to URI for long-term appointments, fostering research in a field critical to the future of business and offering expert teaching in the classroom. A technology fund will increase experiential learning opportunities and ensure that College of Business students have access to the tools and systems that will prepare them for successful careers. Each program will bear the name Alfred J. Verrecchia.

“This gift from the Verrecchias is an exceptionally visionary investment. It will expand the College’s faculty in vitally important academic areas and invite the most talented students from across the country and around the world to URI,” said University President David M. Dooley. “We are deeply grateful for the Verrecchias’ commitment to positioning the College as a leader in global business education.”

“The College of Business is investing in our students and our faculty by providing state-of-the-art technologies, with an eye toward the future,” said College of Business Dean and Alfred J. Verrecchia-Hasbro Leadership Chair Maling Ebrahimpour. “The Verrecchia Center for Business Excellence will combine with the unique aspects of this monumental gift to raise the College’s recognition and prestige, providing resources for undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers.”

The Verrecchias have a long history of philanthropic commitment to health and higher education. Over the years they have generously contributed to the College of Business, including the renovation of Ballentine Hall and the Annual Fund. In 1997 they helped create the Alfred J. Verrecchia-Hasbro Leadership Chair in the College of Business and in 2009 they issued a challenge fund for scholarships which ultimately yielded more than $1.25 million in financial aid to improve student access.

Alfred J. Verrecchia’s career spanned 50 years at Hasbro, Inc., including serving as CEO from 2003 through 2008 and as chairman of the publicly traded company from 2008 to 2015. He is currently the independent chairman of Iron Mountain, Inc., a global business dedicated to storing, protecting, and managing information and assets. He is a former member of the board of CVS Health, FGX International, Bacou USA, and Old Stone Corporation. He served as chairman of Lifespan, Inc., and was on the board of Bradley Hospital. He is vice chair of the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement Board of Directors and serves on the URI College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. The University of Rhode Island awarded Verrecchia an honorary degree in 2004.

The URI College of Business is AACSB accredited and is the state’s flagship institution for business education, research, and outreach. The curriculum integrates a focused business course load with a core in the liberal arts and sciences. Its educational model emphasizes experiential learning and entrepreneurial thinking for a community of diverse and innovative business.