KINGSTON, R.I., – August 8, 2018 – Two University of Rhode Island alumni have each committed $1 million to enhance Meade Stadium, home to URI Rams football.
The project includes the installation of synthetic turf and stadium lighting, improvements meant to accelerate the growth of the football program and expand the facility’s use. The new surface and lights will provide a durable field with increased options for television broadcasts, night games, and a variety of University and community events.
“I am excited for what this project will mean for URI football and the University as a whole,” said James P. Clappin ’80, executive vice president of Corning Glass Technologies and one of the two alumni who made the gifts. “We have an opportunity to motivate today’s student-athletes and put URI on the map in a way that it hasn’t been previously. It was important for me to make this investment in the future of the program.”
The planned improvements will create possibilities for a variety of revenue-generating events, from athletic competitions to outdoor performances and music festivals.
“A revitalized Meade Stadium has great potential to take URI Athletics to a new level, while serving as a year-round, multi-purpose facility with additional benefits for our students and the broader community,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “It is inspiring to see our alumni play a leading role in this effort.”
Used throughout NCAA sports and the National Football League, synthetic turf provides a resilient surface, allowing for back-to-back events as well as use during or immediately after inclement weather. It will equip the facility to handle the demands of varsity, club, and intramural teams.
“These two gifts will be transformative for URI football and athletics,” said URI Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn. “They are the largest gifts in the history of URI football. I am grateful to the Clappin family as well as the other family, who wishes to remain anonymous. These are the types of commitments that build successful programs and will move URI Football forward like never before.”
“I would like to thank Jim and Doreen Clappin and their family, our anonymous donor family, and University leadership for their tremendous commitment,” Rhode Island football Head Coach Jim Fleming said. “Receiving such a high-impact level of support from these alumni will help us in our continued efforts to elevate our program. Their generosity will profoundly impact the student-athlete experience here at URI.”
The estimated project cost is $4.1 million, and the anticipated timeline for installation is fall 2020. The University will contribute $1.1 million through an auxiliary fund.
Meade Stadium was constructed in 1928 and named after John E. “Jack” Meade ’15, a local politician and devoted alumnus who was said to have never missed a home game until his death in 1972.