URI announces plan to renovate Meade Stadium
13 August 2018
Plenty of Rhode Islanders have something to say about the current state of the URI football program, but loud outspoken support hasn’t exactly been the theme. As critics of the program cry for its dissolution, another set of alumni have put their money when their mouth is in support of the team.
Two individual donations of $1 million has cleared the way for URI to renovate Meade Stadium. The school announced on Wednesday that they would put up half of the money in a $4 million project to add lights and artificial turf to the 90-year-old facility.
“A revitalized Meade Stadium has great potential to take URI Athletics to a new level, while serving as a year-round, multi-purpose facility with additional benefits for our students and the broader community,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “It is inspiring to see our alumni play a leading role in this effort.”
One of the gifts comes from an anonymous donor. The other is provided by James P. Clappin, a 1980 graduate of the university who is now the executive vice president of Corning Glass Technologies - a New York company that specializes in smartphone screens.
“I am excited for what this project will mean for URI football and the University as a whole,” said Clappin in a press release. “We have an opportunity to motivate today’s student-athletes and put URI on the map in a way that it hasn’t been previously. It was important for me to make this investment in the future of the program.”
“These two gifts will be transformative for URI football and athletics,” said URI Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn. “They are the largest gifts in the history of URI football. I am grateful to the Clappin family as well as the other family, who wishes to remain anonymous. These are the types of commitments that build successful programs and will move URI Football forward like never before.”
The school’s announced timeline would have the lights and turf ready for the 2020 season. Meade is the second-oldest stadium in the CAA conference, behind Villanova Stadium (constructed 1927, renovated 1999). It will be the first major renovation for URI’s facility since they constructed the new grandstand that adjoins the Ryan Center in 2006.