URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media receives $3 million gift

Richard and Jean Harrington’s commitment will support building renovations, expanded programming

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Richard and Jean Harrington
Richard and Jean Harrington at the opening of the Harrington Hub in 2016. (URI photo/Joe Giblin)

KINGSTON, R.I., June 7, 2018 — Richard J. Harrington ’73 and Jean Harrington have made a $3 million commitment to the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island.

The funds will support second-phase renovations of the Kingston Campus’s iconic Ranger Hall and significant expansion of academic programming. The gift is the latest in a series made by the Harringtons over the last decade, and includes operating support for facilities as well as endowment funding to ensure the long-term development and success of the program.

“With their visionary leadership, Dick and Jean Harrington have created a hub for innovation in an academic area with global implications that will only become more critical in the years ahead,” said University President David M. Dooley. “We are grateful for their commitment and proud to feature one of the nation’s prominent communications programs.”

Ranger Hall, which houses the Harrington Hub for Global Leadership in Communication and Media, will broaden its capacity as a thriving center of research and teaching. A complete renovation of the second floor will more than double the usable space, allowing for a social media traffic center/tracking laboratory, new media production facilities and active learning spaces. The improvements will cultivate deep analysis into how communication technologies are transforming public and private behaviors on a global scale.

With programs designed to adapt to the rapidly changing fields of communication and media, the Harrington School reflects a new era of higher education, according to Harrington School Director and Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences Adam Roth. “In this new era, communication and media are critical to success in all avenues of professional and personal life, and the facilities we are building will provide students with an outstanding route to success through experience-based learning.”

Established in 2009, the Harrington School comprises programs in digital media, communication studies, film/media, journalism, library and information studies, public relations, and writing and rhetoric. The School will launch a sports media and communication minor in the fall. The state-of-the-art Harrington Hub opened in 2016, thanks in large part to a $5 million gift from the Harringtons.

The School’s growing prominence is evident in rising enrollment numbers and through the support of such prominent media figures and journalists as Christiane Amanpour ’83 and John King ’85 of CNN, Vladimir Duthiers ’91 and Adam Wiener ’87 of CBS, and Meredith Vieira of NBC Universal. All are members of the School’s advisory board.

“Jean and I firmly believe in the University of Rhode Island and have been delighted with the growth of the School,” Dick Harrington said. “We have tremendous confidence in Adam Roth’s academic leadership and in the outstanding faculty. We are honored to support the next generation of communication and media professionals in an environment of innovation and leading-edge research.”

An information-media industry leader, Harrington is chairman emeritus of the Boston-based venture capital firm Cue Ball. He was formerly president and CEO of the Thomson Reuters Corporation, where he led the transformation of the company into the leading global provider of digital information—the tenth largest media company in the world. He serves on the boards of directors for a number of companies and holds two degrees from URI, a B.S. from the College of Business Administration and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.