Alex and Ani donates $1 million to URI

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Gift to support life science research

KINGSTON, RI – November 19, 2014 – A new $1-million donation to the University of Rhode Island from Alex and Ani, LLC will support natural product research and the discovery of plant-based molecules to improve human well-being. In recognition of the generous gift, the University will name a research lab in the $75 million, state-of-the-art College of Pharmacy building on the Kingston campus, the Alex and Ani Impact Lab.


“We are excited to have an association with a leading Rhode Island and world-class brand like Alex and Ani,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “With our faculty, and our undergraduate and graduate students all contributing to ever expanding possibilities for research, innovation and discovery in this lab, we are confident that the internationally recognized work being conducted here will have a positive impact on our university as well as the state’s economy. We are grateful to Alex and Ani for its support of the University of Rhode Island.”


“The University of Rhode Island is one of the crown jewels of our state, as it educates our children, drives local economic development, and conducts ground-breaking research to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders,” said Carolyn Rafaelian, founder, creative director, and CEO of Alex and Ani. “We are honored to be able to support such important initiatives that will positively impact not only the URI students but the people living in our beloved state as well.”

Dooley noted that the gift will name an existing lab operated by Biomedical Sciences Professor David Rowley within the Pharmacy building, a 144,000 square-foot, five-story structure that opened on the Kingston campus in September 2012. Built to support pharmaceutical teaching and research, it is the largest academic building at URI and is home to the University’s highly competitive and acclaimed pharmacy program.


“The Alex and Ani gift will enhance the work being done in the lab, such as natural product research and discovery of plant-based molecules for the purpose of improving human health,” according to E. Paul Larrat, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy. It could also support research being translated into products created for commercial use.


“This gift will enhance the capability of the laboratory,” said Rowley, who is now working with Ocean Spray to research the beneficial compounds in cranberries. “This will expand the scope and quality of the research being done here, which will ultimately benefit undergraduate and graduate students.”


“The discoveries made by researching these molecules could have far reaching effects both at the early discovery phase and at the end use phase, including product usage,” added Larrat.


About Alex and Ani

Alex and Ani, LLC offers positive energy products created by Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, Creative Director and CEO. Alex and Ani is synonymous with Made in America. Its World Headquarters are located in the Greater Providence, Rhode Island area, where its products are designed, manufactured, and assembled using recycled local materials. Carolyn believes that every individual has a positive message to share with the world, and by incorporating powerful symbolism and design into each positive energy piece, Alex and Ani provides a vehicle for wearers to express their individuality. An Inc. 500 Company, Alex and Ani has retail stores in addition to retail partners both domestically and internationally. Please visit Alex and Ani for more information.


Pictured above


Carolyn Rafaelian, founder, creative director, and CEO of Alex and Ani, and URI President David M. Dooley, pictured in the College of Pharmacy building, which will house the Alex and Ani Impact Lab.


Carolyn Rafaelian, founder, creative director, and CEO of Alex and Ani, watches Hang Ma, URI pharmaceutical sciences graduate student, conduct research in what will be named the Alex and Ani Impact Lab at the College of Pharmacy building, following the company’s generous gift.


Photos by Nora Lewis.