Get out your denim, diamonds for URI College of Nursing’s65th anniversary gala

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KINGSTON, R.I. – January 4, 2011 – The University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing will call for those attending the 65th Anniversary Celebration Gala to dig out their denim and dust off their diamonds March 19.

To be held at the Marriott of Newport from 6 to 11 p.m., the theme of the event will be Denim ‘N Diamonds. Guests are encouraged to forego the formal attire and instead, wear casual denim pieces accessorized with diamonds. Tickets are $100 per person. Proceeds will provide a fund for student scholarships.

“I would describe the theme as being creative,” said Michaela Mooney, assistant dean of nursing and event committee member. “It will be something fun and spirited to break up the end of winter, not like other formal events.”

Along with ensuring guests a good time, the event committee is also encouraging networking among alumni and other nursing professionals.

“This is a function during which we want to build a community of alumni, get classes of students to come back and attend events and build bonds within the URI community. Many of those attending will be former graduates, and we also anticipate a number of local health care professionals,” said Dayle Joseph, dean of the College of Nursing.

Among those health care professionals attending will be honorary co-chairs Brandon Melton, senior vice president of human resources for Lifespan; Carolyn Merriman, president of Corporate Health Group; Michael Paruta, director of workforce development for Woman and Infants Hospital; and Marilyn Walsh, senior vice president of human resources for Care New England.

“We want to create an operating scholarship fund as a result of the gala,” said Joseph. “I have students with all sorts of needs coming in throughout the year, but don’t have unrestricted dollars to help them. Establishing this fund will enable us to provide assistance to students as their needs arise.”

Hosted by NBC 10 Anchorman Gene Valicenti, the night’s events include a silent auction, photo booths, and various live musical acts featuring URI students and graduates, including the Hummingbird Trio and Rockin’ Soul Horns, a prominent regional band that will provide music for dancing. The celebration will also honor members of the nursing community who have received Alumni Achievement awards.

Ken Owens, event chair, believes that promoting the URI nursing program and forging deeper connections with its graduates, will lead to strong support of the event and stronger support of the College in the future.

“We’ve taken away the formality of the event to create a fun environment in which people can relax and connect with each other,” he said.

For ticket information and other event details, please contact Ellen Cuomo at 401-874-5304 or

This release was written by Alicia Blain, an intern in URI’s Department of Communications and Marketing and a public relations major.