KINGSTON, R.I. – April 25, 2007 – The Amica Companies Foundation has pledged $75,000 over five years to the University of Rhode Island’s “Making a Difference” capital campaign.
The new commitment will eventually double the size of the existing Amica Mutual Insurance Scholarship endowment, which assists promising students from the College of Business Administration who demonstrate need. The additional funding is designed to increase the size and number of scholarships. Three scholarships of about $1,000 each were awarded this academic year.
The Lincoln-based company, which provides auto, home and life insurance, is the oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in the nation.
Bob MacKenzie, Amica vice president and corporate secretary, said the company is at the forefront of strong corporate citizenship.
“Our company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and one of the things that distinguishes us is our customer service,” said the 1976 URI College of Business Administration graduate. “Part of that is our desire to invest in the community. A few years ago, we established the Amica Companies Foundation to assist agencies and universities like URI.”
When told about the leadership qualities and academic strength of this year’s Amica scholarship recipients, MacKenzie was pleased.
Senior David Hathaway Jr., an Exeter resident who is a general business major and a pre-medical student, is from a family of 12 children. “This is the second year Amica has provided me with financial assistance for my educational expenses, and I appreciate the company’s generosity this year all the more.”
Last July, his mother, Kelly, gave birth to the family’s 12th child, and there were some complications. “My beautiful baby sister is alive and well, but the cost of the medical treatment was significant, which has made Amica’s financial assistance this year all the more special.”
He and his sister Connie are both at URI as Centennial Scholars, and he has a 3.98 grade point average. Hathaway, who plans to apply to medical school, was home-schooled like all of his siblings.
“I was accepted by Boston University where my parents went, but I chose to come to URI,” he said. “I am so impressed with URI; it offers incredible value.
“I have really been impressed with the faculty,” said the member of the College of Business Administration Student Advisory Council. “When you go to a large public university, you don’t know how much personal contact you are going to have. But here, I found professors go the extra mile. It’s almost familial.”
Hathaway served as the student representative on the search committee for the new business dean, Mark Higgins and with his sister, Connie, co-founded and taught a piano instructional program at a Pawtucket housing project through the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
Hathaway said Amica’s support is important to the future of URI and the state. “Rhode Island is a great place to live and pursue a career. It’s encouraging to see businesses supporting the development of a talented workforce through public education.”
Wakefield’s Andrea Bernier is a senior majoring in accounting at URI. When her mom, Audrey, saw that her tuition bill had been reduced to reflect the scholarship, her mother had a few questions. “I didn’t know a thing about it, and I didn’t learn about the scholarship until my mother showed me the bill,” Bernier said.
“My parents pay for my tuition, so this is a huge help to them,” Bernier said. “I can honestly say that I was surprised and honored to find out that I had been selected from my peers to receive the Amica Scholarship. As the youngest of two children in my family who are both currently in college, the award is appreciated by not just me, but also my parents. They were very proud of me when they learned that I received the scholarship, especially since they are alumni of the University of Rhode Island with plenty of Rhody pride. These types of scholarships help students get a little further with less worry about debt.”
Bernier not only excels academically with a 3.85 grade point average, she already has a job waiting for her in about a year-and-a-half. It’s with Price, Waterhouse, Coopers in Boston, and the firm deferred her start date until July 2008. That will give her a year to get her master’s degree in accounting.
A graduate of South Kingstown High School, she completed a semester abroad in Australia, and is now vice president of social events for the accounting honor society, Beta Alpha Psi. In that roll, she organized a dinner to teach students about proper etiquette and “Public Accounting Night,” a job fair for accounting majors. She is also a student employee for URI’s associate controller, Cindy Mace.
Her involvement doesn’t stop there. She was a URI101 teacher for two years and has been a tutor at the Academic Enhancement Center.
The third recipient of the Amica scholarship, Ryan Yenulevich, is a Centennial Scholar, majoring in accounting and finance. He is a member of numerous honor societies, and outside the academic world, he wrote a study for the Rhode Island chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that addresses ways to increase revenues. In the summer of 2005, he was a finance intern in the Harvard University chemistry department.
The senior from Hudson, Mass. who has a 3.94 grade point average has regularly been awarded private scholarships during his academic career. “They are very helpful in meeting expenses, especially with books. Scholarships provide added motivation because if you do well, you reap the benefits,” said Yenulevich who traveled the world last year with the Semester at Sea program.
Japan, China, Vietnam, India, Egypt, Turkey and Croatia were among the countries he visited. “I had a chance to see the world firsthand to see how it works, with the most substantial piece being the experience with the people. You see how they live and what they feel in different parts of the world.”
A member of the Business Advisory Council, he is in the midst of interviewing with several accounting firms.
He said the Amica scholarship and others like it are critical for the University. “Scholarships are among the best ways to improve the product, whether they be need-based or merit-based. Such aid makes it easier for students to succeed, which in the end benefits companies and societies.”
URI’s “Making a Difference” Campaign seeks $100 million to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance the student-centered campus experience, provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and fund cutting-edge academic and research initiatives. The campaign will be launched in fall 2007. For more information on the campaign, link to http://www.advance.uri.edu/giving/default.htm.
AMICA SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS HONORED: Bob MacKenzie, Amica vice president and corporate secretary, second from left, joins three University of Rhode Island business students after being honored at a luncheon for scholarship recipients. They are from left David Hathaway of Exeter, Ryan Yenulevich of Hudson, Mass. and Andrea Bernier of Wakefield. The three seniors will graduate in May. URI News Bureau photo by Nora Lewis.