Champlin Foundation awards URI more than $640,000 for educational tools, technology

Grants will enhance programming in health disciplines, engineering, fine arts, fisheries and animal sciences

Media Contact: Tracey Manni, 401-874-2145 |

KINGSTON, R.I., Dec. 14, 2018 — The Champlin Foundation, one of the oldest philanthropic organizations in Rhode Island, has awarded four grants totaling $642,735 to the University of Rhode Island for tools and technologies that support educational goals across the institution.

“The Champlin Foundation’s generous support of the University’s teaching mission has enriched the education of thousands of students and has strengthened the University’s national reputation for innovation. The Foundation’s investment in cutting-edge equipment and technology provides students with state-of-the-art learning opportunities that set URI apart in the world of higher education,” said Donald H. DeHayes, URI provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Since 1986, the charitable organization has awarded annual grants to URI, with a cumulative total of nearly $15 million.

“Champlin’s support has, for more than three decades, elevated the University’s ability to educate, innovate and lead,” said Katharine Hazard Flynn, executive director of corporate and foundation relations at the URI Foundation. “This long-term commitment to URI has contributed to our reputation for excellence. We are very grateful for The Champlin Foundation’s investments in our success.”

Equipment and technology related projects funded by The Champlin Foundation this year are:

Production and Assessment of Topical Health Care Products: $146,900, to establish a hands-on learning and training facility in the area of topical health care products. The acquisition of this equipment will enable students from the colleges within the Academic Health Collaborative — Health Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy — to work with state-of-the-art equipment that the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries use to prepare and test topical formulations. Principal investigators: Jie Shen and Samantha Meenach, Department of Biomedical Pharmaceutical Sciences/Department of Chemical Engineering; Saleh Allababidi, Xinyuan Chen and Clinton Chichester, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Ocean Energy Flume: Training Students in Marine Hydrokinetic Energy and Wave-Current Interactions: $148,721, to enhance experiential learning opportunities for students in engineering, oceanography and marine affairs through the acquisition of an ocean energy flume. The flume will allow students to build, visualize and test the performance of wave/tidal energy devices on a small scale, preparing them for careers related to ocean renewable energy, underwater vehicles, coastal resilience and ocean engineering.
Principal investigators: M. Reza Hashemi, Jason Dahl and Stephan Grilli, Department of Ocean Engineering; Mohammad Faghri, Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering; Tetsu Hara, Graduate School of Oceanography; and Robert Thomson, Department of Marine Affairs.


Professional Recording and Livestreaming Equipment for the Concert Hall – Fine Arts Center: $167,114, to acquire the audio and visual equipment necessary for quality recording and livestreaming of concerts in the URI Concert Hall. The equipment will benefit students majoring and minoring in music, as well as all students participating in University musical ensembles and will enable them to compete for graduate programs and careers. Students also will gain the opportunity to work with emerging audio and digital platforms.
Principal investigators: Mark Conley, Elain Aberdam, Gerard Heroux, Joseph Parillo, Susan Thomas and Kirsten Volness, Department of Music; and Ian Reyes, Departments of Communication Studies and Film/Media.


Enhancing Learning and Skill Building Through the Integration of Hands-on Animal Simulation Models into the URI Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science Curriculum and for Use in Outreach/Cooperative Extension Efforts to 4-H Animal Science Youth and Middle/High School Students: $180,000, to purchase animal simulation models for use in the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science to provide a unique opportunity for students to gain experience in a broad range of techniques used in a variety of careers. This equipment also will provide hands-on opportunities for middle and high school students participating in the Rhode Island 4-H Program at URI.
Principal investigators: Becky Sartini, Maria Hoffman, Chris Card, Leah Fischer, Gordon Brackee, Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science; Aura Grandidge, Department of Biological Sciences; and Marcia Morreira, Cooperative Extension 4-H Program.