URI’s newest big thinkers

Christina L. Valentino, Vice President, Administration and Finance Valentino has 20 years of leadership experience at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in administration, finance, human resources, public safety, construction, strategic planning, development, and other areas. Most recently as special assistant to the chancellor, she was a member of the chancellor’s cabinet responsible for strategic planning and advancing philanthropic support for the University’s first fundraising campaign. Previously, she served for more than a decade as vice chancellor and associate vice chancellor for business and administrative services. Valentino served as chief financial officer, chief compliance officer, incident commander for emergency management, and chair of the executive committee on sustainability. She managed a staff of nearly 1,100 and a budget of approximately $180 million. Valentino has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles and a graduate certificate in public affairs through the CORO Foundation Fellowship program. Prior to her employment at UC Santa Cruz, she served in various roles in the public and private sectors in New York and California.

Gerald Sonnenfeld, Vice President, Research and Economic Development Sonnenfeld has decades of experience in higher education, both as an administrator and as a scientist. Most recently he was vice president of the Clemson University School of Health Research and chief science officer of the Greenville Health System in Greenville, South Carolina. Sonnenfeld was appointed as Clemson’s vice president for research and professor of biological sciences in 2010. Before working at Clemson, he was vice president for research and professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and associate dean for basic sciences and graduate studies at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. At Morehouse, Sonnenfeld chaired the department of microbiology, biochemistry, and immunology, and the Morehouse School of Medicine intellectual property committee. He was a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Sonnenfeld received his B.S. in biology in 1970 from the City College of New York and his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology in 1975 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed postdoctoral training in infectious diseases and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1978. During his career, he has been awarded more than $14 million in federal research grants and holds two U.S. patents and one from Canada.