URI dedicates 3 new residence halls

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862 |
Former Gov. Garrahy, late URI President Eddy, members of Wiley family honored

KINGSTON, R.I. � August 22, 2007 � The University of Rhode Island dedicated three residence halls today in honor of five individuals who distinguished themselves through their work in elective office, higher education, the judicial system and community activism.

One of the University�s two new apartment-style residence halls in the North Woods complex was dedicated in honor of J. Joseph Garrahy, former governor of Rhode Island, and the second was named in honor of Alton W. Wiley Sr., the first African-American judge appointed to the state Superior Court; his sister, Beverly Wiley, a national coaching leader in women�s softball and community activist and his brother, the late George Wiley, a chemist and noted Civil Rights leader.

The third residence hall, a suite-style complex, originally called the West Side Suites, was named in honor of the late Edward D. Eddy, the ninth president of the University, who served from 1983 to 1991.

With the official opening of the new dining hall, Hope Commons, and dedication of the residence halls today, the University marks the completion of almost $100 million in new construction.

Eddy, Garrahy and Wiley halls are the first new residence halls to open on the Kingston Campus since 1971. The $74 million project, which was completed at no cost to Rhode Island taxpayers, is the largest building project in the University�s history. Student housing fees pay the debt service on revenue bonds. The three buildings combined provide 800 new beds of on-campus housing.

By honoring these individuals today, we mark the historic and lasting contributions they made to Rhode Island and the nation, said URI President Robert L. Carothers. �Through varied careers and public service activities, they gave selflessly of their time to move our state, nation and University forward. It is fitting that we dedicate these buildings in their honor today because they represent a continuing commitment by the University to build stronger communities, which in turn helps develop young citizens who are better prepared to make positive contributions in our volatile world.�

Eddy Hall was named in honor of the late University President Emeritus Edward D. Eddy, who was responsible for enhancing the University�s image nationally and internationally. He was instrumental in expanding the Graduate School of Oceanography and improving its programs and research initiatives, as well as other doctoral research programs. Eddy secured a 10-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and fought to increase faculty wages by arguing that improved salaries would improve the Universitys curriculum and status. He played a key role in passing a $2.2 million cooperative agreement to bring marine fishery technologies to developing countries. As president emeritus, Eddy led a review in 1992 of the Providence school system as part of his work with educators and community leaders in the Providence Blueprint for Education. He received an honorary degree in 1998 from the University, and remained an advocate for the University.

Garrahy served as governor from 1977 to 1985, lieutenant governor form 1969 to 1977 and was a member of the state Senate from 1963 to 1969. Rhode Islanders often recall Garrahy’s leadership during the Blizzard of 78. The Rhode Island judicial complex on Providence’s Dorrance Street is named in his honor.

He was most recently named chair of the advisory board of Patient Portal Technologies Inc. Healthcare Industry Technology in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He was a former chairman of the National Governors Association Subcommittee on Healthcare Policy. He received an honorary degree from the University in 1977.

Alton W. Wiley Sr., a 1951 graduate of URI�s College of Business Administration who earned his law degree from Boston University, was appointed assistant U.S. Attorney in 1963; assistant legal counsel, Employment Security in 1969; assistant public defender in 1972; and became a member of the state of the governor�s legislative counsel in 1979. In 1981, he became the first African-American judge appointed to the Rhode Island District Court and in 1991, became the first African-American appointed to the state’s Superior Court. It was former Gov. Garrahy who appointed Judge Wiley to the District Court. The recipient of an honorary doctorate from URI in 1983, Wiley is a former URI vice president of Student Affairs and past president of the Alumni Association. He is a member of the URI College of Business Administration Hall of Fame.

Beverly Wiley has been involved in all aspects of softball in Rhode Island, as well as on the national level. She is a past director of Leadership Rhode Island, and is currently head softball coach at the Community College of Rhode Island. She is the state�s commissioner of the Rhode Island Amateur Softball Association and president of GirlsRI, a volunteer organization that fosters the growth and recognition of girls and women in sports and the community. She is working as a consultant with the Providence Department of Recreation to assist the city’s 11 recreation center directors in learning how to provide high quality programming for Providence’s young people.

The late George Wiley earned his bachelor’s degree from the University in 1953 and his doctorate in organic chemistry from Cornell University in 1957. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and then at Syracuse University where he founded the Syracuse Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 1964, he left academia to work full time as the associate national director of CORE. Wiley founded the National Welfare Reform Organization and was a pioneer of the radical �franchise� concept now used by the Association of Community Organizations to Reform Now, and other groups. He was reported missing and presumed drowned after sailing in Chesapeake Bay in 1973.

Link here for a fact sheet (.pdf) about these new residence halls.

Also, link here to read the Providence Journal article, “Dedication of new dorms at URI is a family affair”, about this dedication event. This story also features a photo gallery of the activities.