KINGSTON, R.I. – November 6, 2014 – FM Global, Rhode Island’s largest private company and one of the world’s largest business property insurers, has pledged $1 million to support construction of the University of Rhode Island’s new College of Engineering facility. The gift from the Johnston-based company was contingent on passage of the $125 million higher education facilities bond referendum, which passed Tuesday with 63 percent support from voters.
“I am tremendously grateful to FM Global and CEO Shivan Subramaniam for their generosity in support of this critical project,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “This new building will elevate the already impressive record of teaching, learning and research that takes place at the College of Engineering, and provide extraordinary dividends to the economy and to a wide range of businesses throughout our state.”
“The future of Rhode Island is knowledge-based,” said Shivan S. Subramaniam, chairman and CEO of FM Global. “Rhode Island must invest in higher education and encourage public/private partnerships with state schools to create the skilled workforce a knowledge-based economy demands. Investing in URI’s College of Engineering will help grow the supply of much needed, well-trained, engineers that will benefit our state.”
The gift from FM Global follows several other contributions to the project, including $2.5 million from an anonymous URI alum and corporate leader, $2 million from Toray Plastics (America), $400,000 from the Taco White Family Foundation, and many smaller contributions, bringing the total of private contributions to the project to more than $8 million.
FM Global has a long history of collaboration with the University of Rhode Island and the College of Engineering. The company hires 10 to 15 URI interns per year in a variety of areas, many of who receive full-time job offers following their internships, and among those about four or five are in engineering. It has also collaborated on several research projects with the College of Engineering, including the development of new techniques to predict the strength of steel when subjected to heat from fire hazards. And it has contributed more than $125,000 to the University through the company’s matching gift program.
“FM Global has been a valuable partner with the College of Engineering for many years,” said Raymond Wright, dean of the College of Engineering. “We appreciate their commitment to hiring our students and graduates and publicly supporting critical projects like this new building.”
The 195,000-square foot building will replace five existing engineering buildings on URI’s Kingston campus, all of which opened in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The executives of more than 30 Rhode Island companies and organizations have publicly supported Question 4. It has been endorsed by the Providence Journal, Providence Business News, Valley Breeze and South County Independent, as well as the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council, Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance, BuildRI, Rhode Island Society of Professional Engineers, the National Education Association Rhode Island and the URI Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Click here for more information about Question 4 and the new engineering building.