President & Executive Board Officers
Michael J. Smith
Mike Smith officially began as president of the Foundation on December 1, 2011. He came to URI from Kansas State University where he served as vice president for development for the Kansas State University Foundation.
Smith has had a twenty year career in higher education philanthropy, including work on three major campaigns at institutions in Kansas that netted over $800 million collectively. He successfully led the development and implementation of a comprehensive development program at Kansas State which significantly grew the KSU Foundation’s impact across campus and was instrumental in leading the University’s development team in increasing annual total charitable gifts to Kansas State from $21 million to over $100 million. Smith is a graduate of Kansas State University and received a master’s degree from the University of Kansas.
Thomas J. Silvia '83
After graduating from URI and receiving an MBA from Columbia University, Silvia joined the Wall Street firms LF Rothschild and then Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette trading mortgage-backed securities, and later serving as a quantitative analyst for the company. In 1993, he moved to Fidelity Investments in Boston where he served in several positions including as bond group leader and portfolio manager.
Silvia was elected chair of the board on June 18, 2011. He has been a member of the URI Foundation Executive Board since 2007, serving on several board committees, including the Investment Committee. He is a past member of the University’s Making A Difference Campaign Leadership Committee, and also serves as a member of the College of Business - Ram Fund Advisory Committee. Silvia received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from URI in 1983 and is managing partner of Sanctuary Capital.
Margo L. Cook '86
Cook has served as executive vice president of Nuveen Investments Inc., in Chicago, since October, 2008. Prior to joining Nuveen, she served as senior managing director and global head of institutional business at Bear Stearns Asset Management Inc. Before joining Bear Stearns, she held a number of senior roles over 20 years within the Bank of New York Mellon's asset management business, including CIO of Institutional Asset Management, head of institutional fixed income and senior fixed income portfolio manager.
Cook serves on the URIF investment and personnel committees, and is chair of the Audit Committee. She is a member of the College of Business Advisory Council, was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame (2010) and is a Dean’s List Award recipient (2009). Cook also serves on the Board of Directors for the All Stars Project Inc. in Chicago.
Cook received a BS in Finance from URI in 1986.
Peter J. Miniati III, Esq. '85
Miniati is Vice President of The Washington Trust Company, serving the investment and trust needs of high net worth individuals and institutions. He joined Washington Trust in 2003 from Fleet Bank, where his fifteen-year career included client advisory positions in the areas of wealth management/private banking, commercial lending and cash management. A cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Miniati practiced law in Providence before returning to the trust and investment field. He is a Certified Financial Planner® and a member of the state bar associations of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the Estate Planning Council of Rhode Island.
Past-president of the URI Alumni Association, Miniati serves on the Making A Difference Campaign Leadership Committee and also serves as chair of the URI Foundation’s Finance Committee. He is a member of several additional Foundation committees and serves on the College of Business - Ram Fund Advisory Board. He has served on the Foundation Executive Board since 2007.
Laura H. Cunningham '77
Cunningham is principal of the interior design firm Ramsdell Cunningham & Co. and owner of an antique store, both located in Greenwich, Connecticut. She serves as vice president of the Board of Directors for the Greenwich Arts Council, and has been recognized for her volunteer work with the Greenwich YWCA.
Cunningham has been a member of the URIF Executive Board since 2007, and has served on the URIF Competitive Grants Committee and Strategic Development Committee. She also served on the University’s Honorary Degree Committee, and along with her husband, Stephen, also a URI alum, co-chaired the Fund for URI Annual Giving Campaign several years ago. Laura received her undergraduate degree from URI’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1977.