KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 18, 2020 – The University of Rhode Island announced that Geraldine Barber ’70 and her husband Gregory have committed $1 million in support of URI Athletics and a renovated basketball practice facility as part of Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for The University of Rhode Island.
The Barbers’ gift will significantly advance an initiative to expand and improve facilities for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The University’s West Gym in the Tootell Athletic Complex will be renovated, while adjacent corridors will be upgraded to provide better access to game-day facilities in the Ryan Center. These changes are intended to improve the training experience for student-athletes and draw top recruits to the URI program.
“Geraldine and Greg Barber have been outstanding friends of URI and our athletics program for more than 30 years,” said Thorr Bjorn, URI Athletics director. “They have helped our students’ academic pursuits through endowed scholarships, and they are helping our athletic pursuits as well. We are so grateful for their support and their commitment to strengthening the University and our basketball teams.”
Since 2017, the URI men’s basketball team has won two Atlantic 10 titles and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship twice. Over the last four seasons, 10 former players have gone on to professional careers, including Jared Terrell, who played in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves. New women’s head coach Tammi Reiss had a successful first season, after which two of her players signed professional contracts with teams in Europe.
“Greg and I believe in URI’s student-athletes, in the coaches, and in Thorr Bjorn’s vision for the program,” said Geraldine Barber. “We want to see the University’s athletic excellence contribute to greater national and international recognition.”
Geraldine Barber is a member of the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement (URIFAE) Board of Trustees and is a member of the Women’s Council for Development. She was an elementary school teacher for 11 years in Coventry.
Greg Barber has had a distinguished career in private equity firms, spending the majority of his career as a principal in five venture capital funds, beginning with Narragansett Capital in 1978. In 1990, he co-founded Providence Equity Partners, which grew to become one of the country’s largest private equity investment companies. He received the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.
The Barbers have generously supported URI over the years, including the Thomas M. Ryan Center and the Student-Athlete Development Center. They have also funded the Geraldine M. Barber Endowed Scholarship for Educational Travel and supported the Women Transforming Women Endowed Scholarship Fund.