URI Vice president for Advancement, Robert Beagle to retire

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KINGSTON, R.I. — January 19, 2012 — After nearly 21 years of service, Robert M. Beagle is retiring as the University of Rhode Island’s vice president for advancement on June 30, 2012. URI President David M. Dooley made the announcement recently, stating that: “It is with great regret that I make this announcement about Bob, as he has been a valued member of my leadership team since I joined the University three years ago.

“During this time Bob has willingly taken on broad initiatives to support our institutional goals. He combined his critical institutional knowledge with a keen sense of the future for higher education and the University. During his tenure he has strengthened and ‘advanced’ many facets of the University creating much of the structure that exists to foster URI’s 21st Century Transformational Goals,” said Dooley.

The longest-serving vice president at the University, Beagle, now 68, is credited with leading a team of professionals who have redefined all of URI’s advancement functions and created a new level of pride among the alumni, students, faculty, staff — and all Rhode Islanders as a result. From fundraising to marketing to management to alumni affairs to outreach and community building — many at URI have said that Beagle’s leadership created a culture for communication, philanthropy, and pride throughout the community.

A University and community celebration of his accomplishments will be held on Friday, June 22 at the Thomas M. Ryan Center on the Kingston Campus.

“My years at URI have been blessed by working with an incredible team of advancement professionals and dedicated volunteers who bring their Big Rhody Spirit to accomplish critical goals. I’ve been so privileged to work with all of them,” said Beagle. “While I will miss URI and the Advancement field very much, the retirement will enable me to spend more time with family and to pursue such interests as teaching in the Harrington School of Communication and Media, continuing to write professional articles, and traveling,” he added.

In reflecting on his years working with Beagle, long time University supporter and friend Edward Quinlan, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island said: “I know that I, and thousands of alumni believe strongly that Bob has been one of the great “difference makers” in the history of the University.”

Since he began as vice president at URI in 1991, Beagle sought to develop one resource for University-wide advancement. Initially known as the “University Relations,” the advancement division included development, alumni relations, communications and marketing, publications and information services.

Beagle first used all of these resources and more to develop a comprehensive fundraising, public relations, and marketing effort to mark the University’s centennial year in 1992 and set the foundation for the future. He built a team to launch and lead the University’s first-ever capital campaign that raised $17 million more than its $50 million goal. Under Beagle’s leadership the success of this campaign provided an effective formula that resulted in five other philanthropic campaigns (endowment and building). Over the years he raised more than $150 million for these and other campaigns and increased annual giving to more than $6 million.

Winnie Brownell, Dean of Arts and Sciences, praised Beagle for his dynamic leadership in improving all areas of Advancement, from overseeing successful capital campaigns, branding, upgrading of publications, extending community outreach, launching Alumni affinity groups, and enhancing news, social media and communications to all constituencies.

As Brownell notes, “We particularly appreciate his phenomenal leadership of all aspects of the successful bond issue campaign to fund the Center for Chemical and Forensic Science, the enhanced opportunities for students created by his success in fundraising, his timely efforts to support the upgrade of our web presence and social media for the 21st Century, and for his many valued and ongoing contributions to the Harrington School of Communication and Media.”

In fact, the effects of his years of fund-raising leadership can’t be missed. From the fans seated at concerts and games at the Thomas M. Ryan Center, skaters at the Bradford Boss Ice Arena, the classrooms and offices of the completely renovated Ballentine and Green Halls, to the donors and friends at the annual Distinguished Achievement Awards events to celebrate alumni achievement, and the thankful students shaking hands with their scholarship donors — his leadership has had a lasting, Big impact.

To accomplish these goals, Beagle directed teams to overhaul and expand the University’s alumni information system, programming, publications, and marketing and communications. He led the successful launch of a University-wide branding initiative that resulted in the current “Think Big. We Do.” expression of the URI brand.

One of the longest-serving Advancement Vice Presidents nationwide, the national Council for the Support of Education (CASE) presented him with its Distinguished Achievement Award for 25 years of outstanding service to the Advancement profession. Beagle started his career in 1979 as an executive assistant to the president of Edinboro University (PA) responsible for legislative affairs and public relations. He later was appointed vice president and charged with establishing the college’s Advancement Division. He also served as Vice Chancellor for the Minnesota State University System, having established the Advancement program there as well. In Minnesota, he built a corporate outreach and engagement program in the Twin Cities, implemented a three-year, state-wide marketing and branding initiative, and created a University system-wide foundation to support giving for all Minnesota state schools. In addition to his role as vice president, Beagle has served as an adjunct faculty member in URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media, where he teaches a graduate seminar in Organizational Communication. He also serves on the Harrington School Advisory Board at URI and serves on the Board of Directors for Fellowship Health Resources, a Rhode Island based non-profit serving New England and Mid-Atlantic states.

Beagle is a contributing author to “Driving Business Results with Your Marketing Strategy,” a book published this past summer by Aspatore (a division of Thomson Reuters). A former college debate coach, he is a contributing author to several textbooks in debate. In 1976, he received the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Distinguished Teaching Chair.

His undergraduate degree is in Political Science from Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA), and his graduate degree is in Communication from Penn State.

Beagle and his wife, Gerri, live in Wakefield, RI.

Photo by Nora Lewis