CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale had plenty of “good things” to share at the college’s foundation meeting on Friday morning.
“There’s no hiding; these are tough economic times,” he said, “but we’re doing some pretty good work here.”
To the group’s applause, he reported the college recently received grants of $100,000 and $20,000 from Amica Insurance Co. and the White Family Foundation, respectively. The college foundation oversees the institution’s efforts to raise funds for scholarships and special programs.
Di Pasquale went on to talk about the development of new relationships, programs and events like the America’s Dentists Care Foundation Mission of Mercy to take place June 2 and 3 at the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln. An estimated 600 uninsured or underinsured people are expected to obtain dental services during the two days.
“It shows how involved we are in our community. It’s the beginning of neat stuff,” he said.
Dentists from across the state will converge at the Flanagan Campus, the site of the dental assistant program – an estimated 500 volunteers in all – to provide the free services. Delta Dental has assisted with a contribution and in the course of the event, dentists are projected to provide $40,000 in in-kind services.
In another collaborative effort, Di Pasquale told of how the college has connected with the Preservation Society of Newport County and Tiffany Company. CCRI Foundation member Trudy Coxe, executive director of the society that oversees the Newport mansions, explained its seven retail stores are critical to revenues. CCRI students are assisting with the development of online sales for the mansions. Di Pasquale called the effort a strengthening and development of partnerships.
Another such partnership, one that recently brought the governor and the state’s Congressional delegation to the campus, is that with National Grid. With a $750,000 federal energy grant and the assistance of National Grid, the college has initiated a program to award an Energy Utility Technology Certificate. National Grid also provided $10,000 in scholarships to the program’s first class and provided $100,000 in in-kind services to support faculty, curriculum, marketing and student training.
Di Pasquale didn’t overlook the college’s athletic achievements either.
He told how he enjoyed gloating that the college’s men’s basketball team made it to the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament finals while post-season play had wound up for the state’s other teams. The team had the most wins of any CCRI basketball team with 30 victories and four losses for the season. Di Pasquale also talked about runner Bobby Allen, who gave the college its first national cross-country championship with his win in the NJCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships.
He spoke, too, of the students and faculty that participated in the college’s community service day with their volunteer work at non-profits throughout the state. Di Pasquale toured the locations.
“Each time you left one of those sites, it touched your heart what they are doing in these tough times,” he said.
The president also spoke about the college’s cultural awareness day, saying that about 30 percent of the college’s students are minorities. The awareness day was held at the Liston Campus in Providence and featured students in ethnic dress. The theme was world peace and Di Pasquale said he was surprised to learn the college has students from 99 countries.
Collectively for the semester, CCRI enrollment is 17,178, the second highest it has been in the college’s history. Looking ahead, Di Pasquale questions the impact higher gasoline and tuition costs will have on enrollment. Tuition for the next semester is slated to increase 7.5 percent, raising the current $3,624 cost by $268. Under the governor’s budget, state funding for the institution drops from 45 to 43 percent of operating revenues while projected tuition revenues as a percentage of operations increase from 50 to 53.
“We keep our fingers crossed that we come out in good shape,” he said.