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Toray Plastics America Donates $1 Million to Support Graduate Students

The gift will support vital graduate fellowships within the College of Engineering

Kingston, R.I. – (October 22, 2010) – URI President David M. Dooley today announced that Toray Plastics (America), located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, has made a $1 million gift to the University.

Dooley said, “The support and active engagement of a company like Toray, with a major global business presence, is truly indicative of the kind of productive partnerships we are working to forge. Their generous financial support will play a significant role in advancing this institution’s competitiveness, as we endeavor to attract and retain the most talented graduate students in engineering.”

The gift announcement was made today during the College of Engineering’s annual scholarship breakfast, held at the University Club on the Kingston campus. Richard Schloesser, president and CEO of Toray, addressed a capacity crowd of students, donors and faculty, after which he announced his company’s gift and presented the $1 million check to President Dooley. College of Engineering Dean Ray Wright was on hand for the announcement, along with URI Foundation President Glen R. Kerkian, Provost Don DeHayes and Toray representatives Lisa Ahart and Scott Van Winter.

In presenting the gift, Schloesser noted that the Toray-URI relationship began over 20 years ago. “We at Toray enjoy this partnership by providing some 47 scholarships each year to the very best undergraduate engineering students at URI as well as internships at our plant in North Kingstown and Lyon, France, along with other programs to promote our learning together. Today’s gift will enhance our relationship and deepen our commitment to promote higher learning and excellence in education,” he said.

Dean Wright commented, “Toray is a highly valued partner of the College of Engineering and we are grateful for their long standing support on so many fronts. Their commitment to us has born significant and positive results for the company, the College and the students involved. We look forward to continuing our relationship with this corporate leader.”

Glen R. Kerkian, president of the URI Foundation, which manages the University’s Making a Difference capital campaign, scheduled to end December 31, 2010, said, “This is a huge exclamation point for the historic finish of the campaign. It is particularly gratifying that a Rhode Island based company with a deep and demonstrated commitment to our state, like Toray, would be instrumental in taking the campaign total to over the $120 million mark. We are deeply appreciative of their confidence and their investment.”

Toray Plastics America, Inc. was founded in 1985 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toray Industries, Inc. The company is the only U.S. producer of polypropylene and polyester films and has invested more than $750 million in its U.S. operation. The 70-acre campus in North Kingstown houses the corporate headquarters and the most advanced film production facility of its kind in North America. This world class ISO 9001-2000 certified manufacturing environment with state-of-the-art clean room facilities continues to set records for cleanliness, purity and productivity.

Currently, the URI College of Engineering has some 1,100 undergraduate students, 200 graduate students, and 60 faculty members, and offers dynamic engineering programs in a collaborative learning environment that fosters personal growth and professional development. Seven ABET accredited undergraduate degree programs, and graduate degrees at the MS and PhD levels in five engineering disciplines are offered. The College is also an acclaimed global leader in international engineering education with its International Engineering Program, a five-year program that offers a dual degree, one in engineering and the other in one of several foreign languages.

The College launched an initiative in 2007, specifically to provide graduate fellowship support, as a means of offering funding opportunities to prospective graduate students. Working with the College’s Engineering Advisory Council, the dean proposed setting a $1 million fundraising goal to develop resources for graduate student fellowships or research assistantships. The initiative has met with much success. To date, more than $3 million, including this latest gift from Toray, has been raised. The first two fully-funded graduate fellowships were awarded this year to two Rhode Island students. Only partial fellowship funding had been awarded in the past.

Dean Wright said, “We have been very fortunate that our alumni- including many of those who serve on our Advisory Council, and friends of the College, like Toray, share our belief that supporting graduate students is a critical element to attracting the most talented candidates possible. They are generously pledging their financial support to that end. Our ability to offer financial aid is often a major factor in a student’s choice and we are working hard to make sure URI is at the top of the list.”
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For information on this or any news item, contact Tracey Manni in Development Communications, at 401.874.2145 or tmanni@foundation.uri.edu.