This past Tuesday, November 2, Rhode Islanders approved an important new investment in a better future: The new building for the Chemical and Forensic Sciences, part of Question 2 on the ballot, passed handily. We here at the University of Rhode Island appreciate this vote of confidence in our students, our faculty, and our efforts to achieve an even higher level of excellence. The new $61-million building will provide state-of-the-art facilities for research and education that will play an important role in creating a vibrant and sustainable economy in Rhode Island and in keeping our nation competitive.
A lot of people contributed their time, creativity, and dedicated hard work to make this possible. The effort was led by Vice President for Advancement Bob Beagle. His team in the Advancement Division did outstanding work in support of our efforts, as did the Office of Higher Education, members of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Chemistry (particularly Dean Winnie Brownell, Chemistry Department Chair Bill Euler, and our chemistry graduate students). Others at URI (such as AAUP, our campus faculty organization, and the Student Senate) also made important contributions to our success.
An especially noteworthy aspect of the campaign for Question 2 was the broad and enthusiastic coalition that supported URI’s efforts. Labor and business interests both saw the tremendous economic development potential of this project and worked very hard to promote it. A high point was the editorial in The Providence Journal co-authored by Laurie White ’81 (president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce) and Michael Sabitoni (president of the Building and Construction Trades Council). Question 2 was also endorsed by many other groups plus many of the state’s leading media. A complete list of our supporters and those who endorsed our project may be found at uri.edu/news/releases/?id=5564.
I also extend my congratulations to our colleagues and the students at Rhode Island College. Question 2 included $17 million for a desperately needed renovation and modernization of an arts facility at RIC. The college, its students, and its alumni were excellent partners with us in promoting both projects across the state.
Most importantly, for all of you who voted “Yes on 2”—thank you. You demonstrated that even in difficult times, Rhode Islanders can come together to take the steps needed to build a better future. In the current political and economic climate, perhaps such a courageous and confident step would be possible “only in Rhode Island.”
—David M. Dooley