New University of Rhode Island Foundation President Named

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Lil O’Rourke to lead advancement and endowment management operations for the University of Rhode Island

KINGSTON, R.I. – (February 11, 2016) — Lorne A. Adrain ’76, chairman of the University of Rhode Island Foundation, announced today that Elizabeth “Lil” Breul O’Rourke has been named president of the Foundation. O’Rourke, a seasoned university advancement professional with over three decades of fundraising, campaign, alumni and trustee relations experience at Syracuse University, will officially start at URI on March 28th.


“We are all thrilled that Lil will be joining us to lead the URI Foundation,” said Adrain. “Together, we will pursue dramatic improvements in the scale, sophistication and effectiveness of our work supporting students, faculty, programs and the broader mission of the University here and around the world.”


URI President David Dooley said, “We welcome Lil to the University community and look forward to working with her in implementing strategies to support URI’s growth, competitiveness and mission. We are fortunate, at URI, to have the support of a strong alumni base and many friends, corporations and foundations. I am confident in Lil and her ability to maximize our philanthropic relationships and opportunities for an even greater impact – locally, nationally and globally.”


O’Rourke most recently served as senior vice president for principal gifts and international advancement at Syracuse University, a private institution in central New York. A longtime member of the University’s Division of Advancement and External Affairs (AEA), she served in many key positions including as vice president for development. She played a key role as part of the leadership team that led a successful $1 billion campaign at Syracuse, which ended in 2012 and exceeded its goal ahead of schedule.


“I am honored and very excited about beginning my journey at the University of Rhode Island,” said O’Rourke. “URI is an exciting place with so much to share with the community at large. I look forward to joining this dynamic team of staff, trustees, alumni and partners in their commitment to advancing the exciting potential expressed in President Dooley’s vision for the University.”


During her career at Syracuse, O’Rourke held a number of posts within Advancement including roles within the Office of Alumni Engagement, first as assistant director and later leading the office through a time of expansion and implementation of best practices. She joined the University in 1983, and later served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences where she helped to establish and expand the advancement operation for the college. During this time, the University’s Life Sciences Complex was built. In 2009, O’Rourke was appointed secretary to the Board of Trustees and vice president for principal gifts before being named to her most recent role as senior vice president for principal gifts and international advancement.


An alumna of Syracuse University, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1977, and a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse in 2004.


James A. Hopkins ’62, a trustee of the University of Rhode Island Foundation, has served as interim president of the Foundation since June 2015. “The entire URI community owes a debt of gratitude to Jim for serving as full-time volunteer leader of the Foundation and making such an extraordinary contribution to its progress. Jim has kept the Foundation focused and moving forward and has positioned Lil for a smooth transition and a rapid acceleration of our work,” said Adrain.