The Second Annual Distinguished Achievement Awards

The careers of this year’s President’s Distinguished Achievement Award winners could not be more disparate. Yet, Josepha Campinha-Bacote, Howard S. Frank, William R. Holland, and Nina F. Saberi, all URI alumni, share prominence on the national and international stages.

Josepha Campinha-Bacote ’74 earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. In private practice since 1991, she has been treating diverse populations and educating health care professionals around the world about the need to immerse themselves in their patients’ cultural heritage. An appreciation of patients’ cultural, religious, and language traditions leads to better care, she said.

As the founder and president of Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates, a private consulting service that addresses clinical, administrative, research, and educational issues in transcultural health care, she has become renowned internationally.

Campinha-Bacote said she owes a great debt to Barbara Tate, dean emerita of the College of Nursing. “She was such a caring person, and I have so much allegiance to URI because of Dean Tate. She made me feel so welcome, and she has the most respect for diversity of anyone I know,” said the third generation Cape Verdean, who grew up in Wareham, Mass.

Campinha-Bacote holds an M.S. in nursing from Texas Women’s University, a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Virginia, and an M.A. in religion from Cincinnati Christian University.

These days, the recipient of the College of Nursing’s Alumna of the Year award and an Alumni Achievement award gives national and international presentations that target neuroscience, pharmacy, and dentistry. “Pharmacy schools and dental schools are not teaching about cultural differences and ethnic background and how they affect drug metabolism. I am now getting grants from pharmaceutical companies to address drug effects on minority patients,” said the Cincinnati, Ohio, resident.

Howard S. Frank ’62, who earned his B.S. in accounting, is vice chairman and chief operating officer of Carnival Corp., a global cruise company and one of the largest vacation companies in the world. Based in Miami, the company has more than 55,000 employees worldwide and operates a fleet of 83 ships.

A numbers guy, he’ll tell you that his communications and English courses with favorite professors Agnes Doody and Warren Smith helped him learn how to talk with people and make presentations. He also talks about the importance of campus activities: “I honed my leadership and communication skills not necessarily in the academic arena, but working with my colleagues in my fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi. They looked to me as a pragmatic problem solver and that helped to build my confidence in my abilities.”

A member of the College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame and keynote speaker at the 1995 University CEO Forum, Frank joined Carnival as senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer in July 1989. He served as CFO and chief accounting officer from 1989 until 1998. He became a member of the board of directors in 1992 and was named vice chairman of the board in 1993. In 1998, he was named to his current position.

A voracious reader and faithful runner, Frank shows no signs of slowing his pace.

“I am 66 and I should be retired,” he said. “My daughter and my wife tell me it’s time to smell the roses. The reason I don’t retire is that I love my work. It’s a great company with great colleagues all over the world.”

As an education leader for more than 40 years, William R. Holland ’60 laughs when someone mentions retirement because in 2002 he stepped down as Rhode Island commissioner of higher education.

During the next three years, he taught half time at Rhode Island College, officially retiring as professor emeritus in 2005. In that capacity, he was mentor to hundreds of school principals in Rhode Island and nearby states.

Then he was asked to serve as interim superintendent-consultant in the Central Falls school district. During that time, the Narragansett resident proposed a restructuring of the high school that called for a formal partnership with URI. The URI Academy at Central Falls opened officially this month.

Holland holds a master’s in history and education from the University of Massachusetts and a doctorate in educational administration from Boston University. “You enter public service knowing you are not going to be wealthy, but that you can contribute to improvement in the lives of people. I am very honored that the University realizes that.”

During his career, Holland served as superintendent in four Rhode Island and Massachusetts school districts and as executive director of the Rhode Island Principals Association. As commissioner of higher education, he oversaw an unprecedented $500 million in expansion and improvement at CCRI, RIC, and URI, including construction of the Ryan Center, the Boss Arena, and Ballentine Hall.

Holland’s immediate family includes several URI graduates: his wife, Karen ’60; sons Kevin ’84 and Steven ’93; daughter Kathleen Meringolo ’85; and Steven’s wife, Catherine ’93.

Nina F. Saberi ’82 will tell you that as founder of Castile Ventures in Waltham, Mass., she is privileged to provide capital and management expertise to entrepreneurial businesses.

Saberi, who earned her B.S. in electrical engineering, founded the venture capital firm in 1998. “In the early stages, it’s an investment in people who have unique ideas and ways to solve problems,” Saberi explained.

Her company has helped launch such leading technology firms as Network Intelligence, which was purchased in 2006 by EMC2, a global technology leader; Trapeze Networks, which provides seamless mobility to the enterprise workforce and meets the requirements of network managers and information technology staffs; and Aurora Networks, a manufacturer of advanced optical transport systems for broadband networks that support the convergence of digital broadband, voice, video, and data applications.

Saberi said URI was a community that embraced her. “My late professor, Mack Prince, understood why I wanted to become an engineer. But he also knew that I belonged in an entrepreneurial environment before I did, and he recommended me to a venture-backed startup that had been founded by a URI graduate.”

She credits URI engineering classes for her success. “You learn how to break down problems into solvable pieces, organize your thought processes, and gather the tools you’ll need to proceed. Engineering gives you a high level of credibility and confidence,” said the 2007 commencement speaker for the College of Engineering.

Inducted into the college’s Founder’s Club in 2004, she is now vice chair of the College of Engineering Advisory Committee; she will become chair in 2008.