Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cutting Ribbons

The University of Rhode Island community celebrated the opening of two extraordinary buildings last week. One, the state-of-the art facility for the College of Pharmacy attracted enormous statewide attention (see And rightfully so.   This building will provide an outstanding platform for educating generations of students, and its facilities will foster cutting-edge research.  The contributions of the graduates and the research programs will improve the health and lives of countless people.  Moreover, the advanced instrumentation and the modern manufacturing facility will help create new knowledge, new intellectual property, and products that can stimulate sustained economic development. This building represents a major investment in the university by the government and people of Rhode Island.  As noted in our web story, the University of Rhode Island had great partners in the design and construction of the pharmacy building. They, together with our amazing custodial crew and dozens of student volunteers, worked long hours to make the ribbon-cutting celebration a great success. Most importantly, the building we celebrated will provide a home for talented faculty, students, and staff who are dedicated to making a difference.
With much smaller crowds, and much less fanfare, the URI community and its partners dedicated another home just a few days later.  But it was just as special an occasion.  Over a hundred people, including many from the University of Rhode Island, gathered to celebrate the dedication of the first Habitat for Humanity house on the Old North Road site close to campus.  The completion of this house, the first in a four-unit complex, was an outcome of an inspirational partnership among South County Habitat for Humanity, URI, the town of South Kingstown and others.  As a direct result of this partnership the Stone family – Jay and Cora (a CCRI student), and their sons Jason and Eli – have their first home. 
What should make all of us at URI very proud are the generous and dedicated efforts of members of our community to make this happen. The partnership between South County Habitat for Humanity and URI developed in part through the determined efforts of Fran Noring (an Emeritus faculty member from the College of Human Science and Services).  In honor of her years of service and advocacy, the street for the Old North Village Project has been named for her.  Gail Faris (Assistant Director of the Women’s Center, now retired) and Jerry Sidio (Facilities Services, and advisor to our student Habitat chapter) were also instrumental in the success of this project.  In addition to the energetic and committed members of our student Habitat chapter, many of our student athletes and members of our Greek system devoted themselves to raising funds and to construction.  URI’s students in the Habitat chapter, our volleyball team, and the leadership of our sororities and fraternities have been an inspiration to the entire university. More details and pictures of the house dedication will be on our website soon. 
Thank you – everyone – who made these projects possible.  The completion of these buildings is a wonderful testimony to the importance and value of community.