URI President Dooley informs community of decision to retire in June 2021

Praises community members for their ‘collective commitment to one another, to the mission of the University’

Media Contact: Linda A. Acciardo, 401-874-2116 |
URI President David M. Dooley URI photo by Joe Giblin
URI President David M. Dooley URI photo by Joe Giblin

KINGSTON, R.I. — May 18, 2020 University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley today announced to the University community his decision to retire effective June 2021.

Dooley, the University’s 11th president now serving in his 11th year, said in his message that “it is very difficult for me to express how much I have enjoyed and appreciated serving as your president for the past eleven years. No institution means, or has ever meant, more to me than the University of Rhode Island and its people.

“Inspirational, creative, caring, welcoming, thoughtful, wise – these are just a few of the words that come to mind when I contemplate the diverse and supportive community here,” Dooley said. “URI, as it stands today, is the consequence of your vision, your tireless efforts, your talents and abilities, and your collective commitment to one another and to the mission of the University.

“URI cherishes the values of equity, inclusion, and community. Consequently, it will be difficult to leave this special place, but I am convinced that the time is right for me to step down and for the University to seek a new president,” he said.

During the next year, he will focus on sustaining the momentum and growth of URI, including assisting the new Board of Trustees, working with the URI Foundation and Alumni Engagement to sustain the tremendous progress of the University’s comprehensive campaign, and facilitating a smooth transition for the next president of the University of Rhode Island.

“But my primary focus will be to work with all of you to guide URI through the current challenges of a global pandemic,” Dooley said.

“No one knows how or when this crisis will end, but I believe that I know you – the URI community – reasonably well. Consequently, I am confident the University of Rhode Island will emerge stronger, more resilient, more innovative, and prepared to lead in a new era for higher education.”

Dooley said in his message that the following quote (taken from the Adventure of the Norwood Builder, by Arthur Conan Doyle) best captures his feelings at this moment: “The work is its own reward”.

“The most rewarding time of my professional life has been that spent at the University of Rhode Island. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president.”

Margo Cook, chair of the University of Rhode Island Board of Trustees, said Dooley’s record of accomplishments at URI is impressive.

“President Dooley’s vision for the University of Rhode Island has led to dramatic transformation and increased student success during his tenure,” Cook said.

“His commitment to educational excellence, research growth, business engagement, and community outreach have been hallmarks of his presidency at the University,” Cook said. “I’ve had the honor of working in partnership with the president for many years and have enjoyed his energy and valued his focus on raising the profile of Rhode Island’s state flagship research university. On behalf of the URI Board of Trustees, I extend our gratitude to the president and will support his continued leadership to maintain URI’s momentum.

Cook said she looks forward to working with Dooley over the next year to ensure a smooth transition and stability, as the search for the next president gets underway.

“I know the University will continue to thrive and I’m grateful for the dedicated faculty and staff that are working hard to ensure our students can achieve their educational goals,” Cook said.

Lauded within the past year for turning things around in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and Forbes magazine, URI achieved results described as “nothing short of remarkable.” As URI implemented these strategies aimed at enriching the student experience and providing pathways to degree completion, the Association of Public Land-grant Universities also took notice and selected URI as one of three national finalists for achieving significant gains in degree completion.

The President’s Transformational Goals for the 21st Century would guide the University throughout the decade to: Create a 24/7 Learning Environment, Increase the Magnitude, Prominence, and Impact of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work; Internationalize and Globalize the University, and Build a Community that Values and Embraces Equity and Diversity. Today, the University can report significant progress toward achieving these objectives, which have transformed the University and its approaches to teaching and research.