Vice chancellor at University of California, Merced named URI vice president for Administration and Finance

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Photo courtesy Abigail Rider

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 2, 2017 — The University of Rhode Island has appointed the assistant vice chancellor for planning and real estate at the University of California, Merced to serve as its vice president for Administration and Finance.

Abigail Rider, who is also the chief real estate development officer at UC Merced, will begin her duties at URI in early March. She succeeds Christina Valentino, who left the University in September 2016 so she could be closer to her family in California.

Rider, who served at Brown University from 2002 to 2007 and Yale from 2007 to 2014, brings with her a distinguished record of accomplishments in higher education, particularly in the areas of real estate development and management, project design, transportation systems and environmental management.

“We are pleased to welcome Vice President Rider to the University during an exciting time in our history,” URI President David M. Dooley said. “As we begin our celebration of the 125th anniversary of the University’s founding, we are embarking on a $150 million transformation of our engineering facilities, planning a new residence hall for juniors and seniors and developing a new Welcome Center, which will position us strongly for continued excellence and growth for decades to come. With her expertise in banking, real estate development and project management, Vice President Rider is uniquely suited to serve the University during this crucial period of expansion and change.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to put my experience to work in support of the University of Rhode Island,” Rider said. “Having lived, worked and raised my family in Rhode Island, I feel a special connection to URI’s mission and appreciate its key role in the state’s future.”

Reporting directly to President Dooley and serving as a member of the president’s senior leadership team, Rider will be responsible for the overall direction and management of URI’s business services, capital planning and projects, finance, purchasing, human resources, labor relations, public safety and facilities of the University.  Rider will play an essential role ensuring that the institution has streamlined, contemporary, and efficient administrative and operations processes that support the University’s core missions of teaching, research and outreach.

In addition, Rider will serve in a leadership role in the establishment of fiscal policy for the University and integrate all business affairs functions to achieve a level of efficiency and effectiveness that supports the overall mission and goals of the University. Rider will supervise the planning and implementation of capital construction, renovation, and asset protection.

Other areas and departments under her supervision are: budget and financial planning, Controller’s Office, W. Alton Jones Campus, Ryan Center and the Boss Arena.

At UC Merced, Rider has served as a key member of the six-person project team for the 2020 Project, a change management process to implement a $1.4 billion, 1 million-plus-square-foot public-private partnership, which is doubling the size of the UC Merced campus and is the first project of its kind on a university campus in North America.

From 2007 to 2014, Rider was assistant vice president and director for University Properties at Yale University, managing Yale’s commercial property portfolio of approximately 1 million square feet of retail, residential and office space and working closely with community stakeholders on the reanimation of downtown New Haven.

At Brown, she served as director of Real Estate and Administrative Services, during which she managed transportation services and implemented the safeRIDE shuttle service operated by the University. She also oversaw auxiliary housing, commercial real estate, real estate gifts, acquisitions and community development.

Rider earned her bachelor’s degree from Smith College. She was a Fulbright Scholar and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. She received the 2016 Outstanding Woman Award at UC Merced, and has volunteered on numerous community and civic boards.