College launches 100th with a flair of tradition, spirit

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Providence College began the year-long celebration of its centennial on Wednesday, Aug. 31, with programs that reflected its tradition of academic excellence, its commitment to its Catholic and Dominican tradition, and its sense of fun.

Classes were cancelled for the day to allow students and faculty to participate in all events, which began at 8:30 a.m. with academic panels in the Ruane Center for the Humanities. Professors explored the impact of foreign language studies on a liberal arts education, the growth of psychology as an academic discipline, health care in 1917 Providence, and the impact of World War I on the British empire and race in America.

The Centennial Opening Mass in the Peterson Recreation Center followed at 11 a.m. with the Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, D.D.,bishop of Providence, as the principal celebrant. In his homily, College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80, acknowledged that God’s work in founding the College is not complete, but remains the mission of all who work and study there.

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Friar Foundations Program students inspired to return as mentors

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A new college campus can be an intimidating place. For many students, getting to know resources, academic rigor, student organizations, and campus layout is just as important as choosing which classes to take. 

Two years ago, these were the main concerns of incoming Providence College students Amie Mbye ’18 (Pawtucket, R.I.) and Jarely Paulino Diaz ’18 (Lawrence, Mass). But, after spending five weeks in the Friar Foundations Program (FFP), a summer bridge program intended to ease the transition from high school to college, they were poised to take on the school year.

This year, Mbye and Diaz each made it a priority to give back to the program by becoming resident assistants/mentors (RAMs) to 22 students in this summer’s FFP cohort – all members of the incoming Class of 2020. The program, which is supported by funding from The Angell Foundation and The Salah Foundation, invites accepted PC students who might benefit from a jumpstart to their college careers to campus. They take credit-bearing classes, attend skills-building workshops, participate in field trips, and get to know their fellow students and the campus.

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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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