It is simply inspiring to experience the excitement for this project and to see the depth and breadth of URI’s involvement in making these homes, this new part of our neighborhood, a reality to celebrate for years to come. A lot of URI students have been a part of making this happen: Karin Mellin, Kari Lukovics, Carissa Johnson, Scott Andrews, and Darthula Hansford are working with Habitat for Humanity (Scott is President of the URI chapter and Darthula is the liaison between South County Habitat for Humanity and the URI chapter).
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I would like to personally thank our speakers for Discovery Day as well. Keith Stokes, Executive Director of the RI Economic Development Corporation, Leslie Taito, CEO of the RI Manufacturing Extension Service, Umberto Crenca, Founding Artistic Director of AS220, and Paul Hastings, President and CEO of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, all provided insightful and illuminating talks that illustrated the close relationships between research and creative work and economic and community development.
The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy at the University of Rhode Island. Four events stand out: two evenings where special university awards were announced – the Rainville Leadership Awards and the Diversity Awards; and two symposia – one on Cybersecurity and then Discovery Day at URI. My guess is that everyone who attended discovered new things about what our students, faculty, and staff are doing that are, to recycle a phrase that I’ve used previously, “transforming the world.”
This week I visited the Production Lab in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, which provides a top-notch technical environment and a variety of support services for students interested in research and outreach in writing and in preparing cutting-edge web-based portfolios to showcase their work.
At the University of Rhode Island we take very seriously our responsibility to provide a strong return on the investment made in us by the people of Rhode Island. We will work even harder to provide high quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional education. Equally, we will continue to enhance our research, scholarship, and creative work, along with our service to the people of the state.
Many of your have heard me say that one cannot solve problems while trying to hide them, or by pretending they don’t exist. You can only solve a problem by acknowledging that it is real and marshaling the resources needed to resolve it.
Communities of faith, although certainly not for everyone, can be very supportive of efforts to build communities across many common and problematic dividing lines. The University of Rhode Island is fortunate to have many communities of faith that contribute in multiple ways to building a supportive campus environment.
I just returned from a visit to Houston with Governor Lincoln Chafee and the Mayor of Providence, Angel Taveras. The Governor invited President Ruth Simmons of Brown University and me to accompany him and the Mayor to visit the Texas Medical Center, which is one of the world’s foremost centers for patient care and medical research.
As a group, student athletes do very well academically at the University of Rhode Island because academic success is a priority for them, our coaches, and Athletics Director Thorr Bjorn. You will find our student athletes in practically every major offered at URI, including our most demanding. Our student athletes also contribute in many, many ways to serving the larger community and to building a strong community here at URI.
The University of Rhode Island recently celebrated its Big Chill weekend. The weekend featured two events – one celebrating the continuing excellence of our scholar-athletes and our intercollegiate athletics programs, the other our annual fundraising evening devoted to scholarships. Together these events emphasize the excellence of the university and the importance of our students and their achievements.