URI College of Business Administration to host first Vangermeersch Endowed Lecture

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3 business college alumnae to discuss corporate success

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 26, 2008 – “Reaching the Corporate Summit” is the topic of the inaugural Vangermeersch Endowed Lecture Thursday, April 10 at the University of Rhode Island.

Presented by the University’s College of Business Administration, the panel discussion with three alumnae of the College and a former dean will be held in the Galanti Lounge at the University Library, 15 Lippitt Road. Free and open to the public, the panel discussion will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m., with a reception to follow.

Deborah A. Ciolfi, a 1980 graduate of URI’s College of Business Administration, helped establish the endowed lecture with a $20,000 gift honoring her former accounting professor, Richard Vangermeersch, who retired in 2004 after 34 years of teaching. Ciolfi is the founder and CEO of Providence Investors LLC, a privately held business advisory and asset management firm with offices in Boston and Providence.

“Dr. Vangermeersch was always an inspiration to me—his classes were especially memorable because he had a rare talent of combining accounting theory with humor and laughter—no small feat,” Ciolfi said. “I wanted to create a lecture series that would enable the business school to attract some bright, talented people who might also inspire the students at URI.”

Ciolfi is one of the panelists along with Wendy P. Field, URI class of 1974, managing director of UBS Investment Bank who serves as its global head of Franchise Loan Origination and Marianne Gattinella, URI class of 1979, vice president of human resources at The McGraw-Hill Companies. The moderator is Hilda Allred, executive management consultant and former assistant dean of the College of Business Administration.

“All three panelists are members of the College of Business Administration Advisory Council, and we are so grateful that they are taking time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences with our community,” said Michaela Mooney, associate dean for development.

The panelists will address skills needed to reach the corporate summit, strategies for success, and hurdles and challenges to overcome in organizations.

Ciolfi has a 25-year record of success as a senior executive and advisor in business strategy, finance and wealth management. She is a recognized leader in mission-driven, socially responsible investing and portfolio management. Her clients include Fortune 1000 and early-stage enterprises, investment firms and individuals.

Before joining UBS, Field held top positions at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., in New York City, and Swiss Bank Corp. (SBC). Field is a board member of Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut where she oversees a program at UBS for high school students in the Stamford area that teaches them about business.

Gattinella has more than 20 years of broad based human resources experience and has worked in various senior generalist roles supporting global businesses at companies including The Travelers, Citibank, Lehman Brothers, and New York Life International.

The moderator is Hilda Allred, executive management consultant and former assistant dean of the College of Business Administration. For more than 15 years, she was vice president or director of human resources with several leading companies. Her recent roles have included consulting assignments involving large-scale change initiatives and mergers and acquisitions.

Vangermeersch said Ciolfi was one of his brightest students, and that she benefited greatly from the guest speakers brought to campus during her days in Kingston. Vangeermersch said Allred, in her role as dean of outreach, brought in excellent speakers. Vangermeersch made an initial $20,000 match, and then in memory of his mother, Rachel, he added $25,000 to the fund.

“Deborah wants today’s students to be as inspired by powerful guest speakers as she was,” Vangermeersch said. “It’s great that Deb wanted to make permanent such a great program.”

Vangermeersch said such guest lecture programs will give students a chance to explore career options with successful professionals. “It’s important that we recognize Deb’s philanthropic and professional contributions, and making her part of the program is an excellent way to do it,” he said.

Ciolfi’s gift is part of URI’s Making a Difference campaign, which 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. For more information on the campaign, click on http://www.urifoundation.org./