A great-uncle’s gift provides $1 million to help renovate and expand PC Science Complex

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Leo Caiafa, Jr. was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, then ran an automotive shop in Amarillo, Texas, for more than 40 years. He died in 2013, leaving an extended family that includes a great-niece, Julianne Szemko ’19 (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.), who is studying psychology at Providence College. 

A deep and meaningful relationship has developed from that modest connection, leading to a $1 million donation from Mr. Caiafa’s estate to establish the Lucille and Leo Caiafa, Jr. Center for Psychological Sciences, which will be part of the expanded and renovated Providence College Science Complex.

The Caiafa gift is the first major donation to the multi-phase science center project, which began in June and will take four years to complete. It will modernize the complex and unite its three buildings — Albertus Magnus Hall, which opened in 1948 as the third building on campus; Hickey Hall, a laboratory building that opened in 1962; and Sowa Hall, a faculty office building that opened in 1989.

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A $1 million gift makes summer research and internships possible for nine students

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Thanks to a $1 million gift to Providence College, four students are engaged in research with faculty this summer, while five others are receiving financial support to intern with nonprofit organizations. 

The College used $600,000 from the gift to establish the Veritas Research Fund, which will support undergraduate students in research with faculty mentors, and $300,000 to establish the Veritas Distinguished Internships, which will provide stipends for students working with nonprofits. Another $100,000 was donated to the PC Fund, which supports the College’s operational needs, including financial aid.

“Both these programs keep students engaged with their fields of study during the summer and give them wonderful learning experiences outside the classroom,” said the donor, who attended PC and wishes to remain anonymous. “I admire people who give their lives to working with nonprofits, especially in human services, and I’m very pleased to have been able to play a part in encouraging that at the College.”

The first four Veritas scholars received $4,000 stipends to assist them in their summer research. They are Meaghan Creamer ’17 (Syracuse, N.Y.), an elementary special education major; Joan Miller ’18 (Oakdale, Conn.), a music performance and art history double major; Blaine Payer ’18 (Fall River, Mass.), a philosophy major; and Kimberly Pena Maida ’17 (Marlborough, Mass.), a global studies major. 

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Providence College seeks $140 million to fund endowment, expansion, scholarships

PROVIDENCE — Providence College on Saturday is officially launching the biggest fundraising campaign — for $140 million — in its almost 100-year history.

The college says the money raised will touch every aspect of college life, from a new School of Business to new faculty members to a more robust endowment.

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Brian J. Shanley: More families good for Smith Hill (the neighborhood)

Providence College recently granted $750,000 to be distributed over three years to the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation (CDC), a nonprofit organization whose mission and purpose is to provide safe, affordable housing for the people in the Smith Hill area of Providence. While several other local institutions of higher education have done and continue to do outstanding community work, I believe our partnership with the CDC is without precedent in Rhode Island.

The college has worked closely with the CDC, especially through our Feinstein Institute for Public Service. We have, for example, facilitated a number of programs for community youth. We have brought a number of our classes to an off-campus neighborhood site owned by the CDC (the PC/Smith Hill Annex on Douglas Avenue), with those classes being open to both PC students and to members of the local community. We also use the annex as meeting and program space in the community that is accessible to both college and community groups. In our latest partnership endeavor, the college and CDC have opened a fair-trade coffee café, also on Douglas Avenue. This small business is owned by the CDC, but run by a group of PC students.

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