CCRI Foundation to honor Avedisian, Caprio, White for changing lives


The Community College of Rhode Island Foundation will hold its sixth annual Changing Lives Celebration, “An evening of enthusiasm and enchantment,” to honor three community leaders while raising funds to help students achieve their dreams.

The Foundation will honor John Hazen White Jr. and Taco/The White Family Foundation, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and Judge Frank Caprio during an event held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. The event will feature silent and live auctions, music, food stations and an awards ceremony.

Scott Avedisian, who will receive the Community Champion Award, was born in Warwick and educated in the public schools of Warwick and Washington, D.C. He graduated from Providence College, completed the state and local program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the New England Institute of Technology.

He was elected the 15th mayor of Warwick in a five-way race in a special election in February 2000 and has been re-elected seven times. During his tenure, he has championed human services reform and environmental protection. He previously served five terms as a member of the Warwick City Council.

Avedisian, a former president of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, has a long history of public service beginning in high school. He served as a page to the late U.S. Sen. John Chafee, a legislative aide for the Rhode Island Senate and deputy campaign manager for Gov. Lincoln Almond.

He served as a member of the board of directors of St. Mary’s Home for Children for two decades, and is on the board of incorporators of Kent Hospital, a Trustee of Ocean State Charities Trust, a Board member of Advisors of Friends Way, a member of the Board of Directors for Crossroads Rhode Island and the Honorary Chairman of the Episcopal Charities.

In 2005, the Aspen Institute chose him as one of 24 inaugural Aspen-Rodel fellows. This bipartisan group of elected officials is charged with reclaiming the middle ground of American politics.

A well-known judge and lawyer, Frank Caprio, who will receive the Education Champion Award, is from humble beginnings. His parents, Antonio and Filomena, were immigrants who, through hard work, devotion to family and love of their new country, sought and found a new life in America.

Caprio attended the Providence public schools, graduated from Central High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Providence College. He began his professional career teaching American government at Hope High School. He coached the wrestling team, started a family of his own and attended Suffolk University School of Law in Boston at night. He began his distinguished legal career in 1965 and is senior partner at Caprio and Caprio.

He has served as a Providence Municipal Court judge since 1985. Proceedings in his court are featured on “Caught in Providence,” which has run on ABC 6 for three years and on cable access for the past eight years.

Caprio served as chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education and was committed to keeping our public colleges affordable and accessible for all Rhode Islanders.

At Suffolk University, he established a scholarship in his father’s name for Rhode Island students who are committed to improving access to legal services in our urban core neighborhoods. He also has established scholarships at Providence College and Suffolk Law School and for graduates of Central High School.

Caprio and his wife of 40 years, Joyce Tibaldi Caprio, have five children and seven grandchildren.

Business Champion Award recipient John Hazen White Jr. is one of the most prominent business leaders in Rhode Island. As president of Taco Inc. in Cranston, he runs a $150 million manufacturing company that is a leader in its industry. Taco is a world-class manufacturer of pumps, valves, tanks, electronic controls and other components for use in heating and cooling applications. Taco employs more than 500 people at three locations in the United States and Canada and sells its products worldwide.

He is the third generation of his family to own and operate Taco, which was started by his grandfather, Elwood White, after World War I. John Hazen White Sr. ran Taco for more than 50 years and built it into the quality brand it is today. Since John Hazen White Jr. took over the company in 1997, Taco has grown considerably in terms of product breadth, market reach and annual sales.

Born in Barrington in 1958, he was the fifth child and only son of John and Mary White. He attended Williston Northampton Academy and graduated from Wooster College of Ohio. He is married and has two sons.

Like his father before him, he is deeply committed to education, the arts, and in working to improve Rhode Island’s business and political climate.

Tickets cost $75. Corporate and individual sponsorships are available. For tickets and more information, call 401-333-7150 or register online at

Tickets cost $75. Corporate and individual sponsorships are available. For tickets and more information, call 401-333-7150 or register online at

The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest community college, has full-service campuses in Warwick, Lincoln, Providence and Newport and operates satellites in Downcity Providence and Westerly. CCRI enrolls an average of nearly 18,000 students annually in credit courses and thousands more in noncredit and workforce training classes and programs.


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