They graduated a year apart from what was then the Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. Now, nearly 60 years after leaving what later became the University of Rhode Island, they have created scholarship endowments for students enrolled in URI’s expanding College of Pharmacy.
Brothers Norman and Robert Saute, who followed different career paths on opposite coasts of the country, have donated $12,500 and $25,000 respectively to the University. Both gifts will be doubled as a result of the Ryan Challenge Grant. Funded by Tom ’75 and Cathy Ryan, the grant matches gifts pledged for the purpose of creating scholarships for pharmacy students. The Sautes’ collective gifts, which total $75,000, will provide valuable opportunities to a number of students pursuing graduate studies in pharmacy.
The Saute brothers, who are three years apart in age, grew up in West Warwick, R.I. Their pharmacy careers, as Norman notes, grew out of after-school jobs they took at a local pharmacy. “We both got tired of the family fuel business, which was changing a lot back then,” Norman recalls. “I started college on an accelerated plan because I finished high school at 16. But when I was 18 I got drafted into the Navy.”
After World War II, Norman joined Robert at the College of Pharmacy, but they headed in different directions after college. Norman opened a pharmacy in the Olneyville section of Providence, and later another in Scituate, and he kept the latter going through 1988 when he retired. “Being a pharmacist helped me to be a more caring and sharing person,” Norman says. “All we do in the pharmacy business reaches out to people all over the world.”
Robert, who lives in California, took a more corporate route, holding senior research positions with Avon Products, Inc., and the Gillette Company after a stint in the Army and completion of advanced college degrees. Since 1975 he has been president of Saute Consultants in Los Angeles specializing in research and development in dermatological, cosmetic, and related product areas.
“The Saute brothers,” says URI College of Pharmacy Interim Dean Ronald Jordan, “are exemplary alumni who model the attributes of successful pharmacists that we hope all our alumni aspire to. They still recognize the need to give back and help those who follow them at URI in the profession. We are grateful for their generosity and friendship.”
As they explain, the brothers have made their gift because pharmacy has provided them with their success. “I have had time to do a lot of volunteer work,” Norman says, “because I have the time and money. I realized one day: How did I make this money? It was pharmacy and my education that helped me succeed. Rhode Island has been good to me, and now I want to give back.”
Robert has a simple explanation as well: “I have always considered education something that would help individuals and the country as well,” he says. “It’s tremendously important. Education is the route to success.”
By John Pantalone ’71