URI kicks off campaign to raise $250 million

Media Contact: Linda A. Acciardo, 401-874-2116 |

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 30, 2020 – The University of Rhode Island has launched the largest fundraising campaign in the school’s history, announcing a goal of $250 million by 2024. All funds will be dedicated to advancing URI, ensuring the ability to educate students and conduct research in fulfillment of its role as a flagship public university.

Big Ideas. Bold Plans. The Campaign for the University of Rhode Island will support the University’s top priorities, including student access, resources for faculty, programs that complement classroom learning, and enhanced facilities and technology.

During the quiet leadership phase, the University has raised $175 million toward its overall goal through a combination of small and large gifts. The public phase will emphasize community participation, inviting alumni and others to learn more about the University’s students, faculty, and research and to contribute in any amount to their area of interest.

“I am delighted and very proud to announce that URI has already raised $175 million during the leadership phase of this comprehensive campaign,” said David M. Dooley, president of URI. “Dedicated alumni, parents, and friends have made transformational gifts that will continue to enhance and strengthen URI’s leadership in higher education, enabling us to better serve our students, Rhode Island, our nation, and the world.”

The University, in collaboration with the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement (URIFAE), has structured the campaign around five pillars to extend the University’s global reach and prepare for the future of higher education: student access, the URI learning experience, transformative faculty, innovative and distinctive programs, and strategic priorities.

“URI has transformed itself in recent years through the combination of strategic long-range planning; innovative new programs and initiatives; local, national, and global partnerships; and a collaborative, ‘can-do’ spirit,” said Margo L. Cook ’86, chair of the Board of Trustees. “This campaign is both an outcome and a continuation of that transformative mission. We have a tremendous opportunity to build on the University’s strengths while addressing critical needs.”

The five pillars encourage a diverse, collaborative learning environment and expand high-impact research and creative work. In addition to helping students, funds will support the recruitment and retention of leading faculty and elevate URI’s leadership role in higher education and in community partnerships. Within the broadly defined University priorities, each of the colleges has specific funding opportunities.

“This campaign will allow us to highlight the University’s achievements, but it is also very much about looking ahead,” said Alfred J. Verrecchia ’67, M.B.A.’72, Hon.’04, chair of the University of Rhode Island Foundation & Alumni Engagement board. “It is an opportunity to elevate URI among the ranks of flagship public universities, while preparing students, faculty, and alumni for positions of leadership in the future.”

Alumni who remain closely involved with the University have driven the leadership phase, inspiring their peers and making gifts of their own. Board of Trustees member Thomas M. Ryan ’75, Hon.’99 and his wife Cathy Ryan made the largest gift in URI history toward the Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, an endowed scholarship, and athletics. Verrecchia and his wife Geraldine designated a gift for faculty positions in artificial intelligence, an endowed scholarship, support for internships, and an emerging technology fund at the College of Business. As campaign chair during the leadership phase, Michael D. Fascitelli ’78, Hon.’08 and his wife Elizabeth Fascitelli gave to the groundbreaking Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering.

Richard J. Harrington ’73, Hon. ’02 has assumed the role of campaign chair for the public phase. Harrington and his wife Jean Harrington have contributed consistently over the years to advance the Harrington School of Communication and Media within the URI College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am very proud of where URI is today,” said Harrington. “This is a result of President Dooley’s leadership, as well as the accomplishments of students, alumni, and faculty. I believe this campaign will generate an unprecedented level of enthusiasm and support as people increasingly recognize the University’s heightened profile and its range of expertise.”

The campaign comes at a time of extended growth and success for the University of Rhode Island. Applications and enrollment have increased over consecutive years, degree completion rates have dramatically increased to earn national recognition, and the full-time faculty has grown by 40 percent over the last decade.

Alumni, friends, corporations, foundations, and anyone with an interest in any of the University’s research areas is encouraged to contact URI and learn more at campaign.uri.edu.