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Affordable Excellence

President Farish Keynotes UBThrive, Inaugural University Business Conference

June 22, 2015

ORLANDO, FLA. – A well-educated citizenry is needed to drive economic prosperity in the United States, and making affordable access to higher education a national priority is imperative.

That’s according to remarks from Roger Williams University President Donald J. Farish, delivered on Monday in a keynote speech at UBThrive, a new conference created by University Business magazine that gathered 1,200 university leaders together to share business enterprise, student success and executive leadership strategies.

“The big picture here has to do with the economic prosperity of this country,” Farish said. “If we think, metaphorically, of America as an automobile, higher education is the gas that makes it go. A well-educated workforce is essential for our long-term prosperity.”

Providence Business News Names RWU Executive Vice President as Top CFO

April 7, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – When Providence Business News selected the honorees for its annual Chief Financial Officer awards program last week, the most prominent recognition went to a familiar face to those on the Roger Williams University campus – Jerry Williams, executive vice president for finance and administration, captured top honors in the newspaper’s career achievement category.

In nominating Williams for the award, University President Donald J. Farish commended his leadership in positively repositioning University finances in recent years in a way that enabled RWU to pursue its ambitious Affordable Excellence initiative – a direct response to the critical issues facing higher education, including escalating costs, rising student debt and job preparedness for graduates.

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RWU, RWU Law Extend Affordability, Excellence Measures into 2015-16

October 2, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – With freshman undergraduate enrollment up 15 percent in two years and the number of first-year law students up 24 percent since last fall – all in an admissions climate characterized by sharply shrinking enrollments, particularly in New England – Roger Williams University has pledged to continue its Affordable Excellence initiative to confront increasing costs, rising debt and the job-readiness of graduates, among the most pressing challenges facing higher education today.

At the undergraduate level, this means the University’s tuition freeze (which has locked tuition at $29,976 since 2012) and four-year tuition guarantee (which can save students as much as $15,000 by ensuring that tuition will not rise during a student’s time on campus) now extend through the 2015-16 academic year.

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Our Lively Experiment

February 5, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – Well into the second year of Affordable Excellence, what began as an engaging dialog about the issues of cost, debt and jobs in higher education has taken root at Roger Williams. Ideas have been put into action via Community Partnerships Center projects, University-wide efforts to best prepare students for careers and competitive job markets and strategic initiatives to both freeze and guarantee tuition for as long as fiscally possible.

“Our Lively Experiment” – the Roger Williams University 2012-13 President’s Report – details some of the initial outcomes of the Affordable Excellence Initiative as well as the road ahead at RWU. 

Ed Tech Partnership with Samsung Promotes Collaboration, Cost-Savings via Cloud Computing

January 29, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – As the technology landscape continues to evolve and outpace many institutions, a partnership with Samsung Electronics America, Inc., has catapulted Roger Williams University to the head of the class via a virtual desktop infrastructure (also known as the rCloud) that mirrors – and in some cases exceeds – the professional environment that students can expect to encounter upon graduation. In a matter of months, the first phase implementation of this multi-year educational technology initiative has enhanced collaborative learning and reduced technology costs to students working in technology-intensive programs as the University continues to set new standards for “affordable excellence” in higher education.

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RWU Law: New Dean, Reduced Tuition, Expanded Focus on Experiential Learning

January 15, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – As part of a comprehensive strategy for confronting the most pressing challenges facing America’s law schools – the cost to earn a law degree; rising student debt; and the job readiness of graduates – Roger Williams University President Donald J. Farish announced today that the University has expanded its signature Affordable Excellence initiative to its School of Law.

Simultaneously, Farish named Michael J. Yelnosky – a founding faculty member, former associate dean for academic affairs, and key leader in Roger Williams University School of Law’s two-decade legacy as Rhode Island’s only law school and as a leading institution in Southern New England – the School’s next dean. Yelnosky will succeed David A. Logan, one of the nation’s longest-serving law deans, when Logan steps down this summer to return to teaching at RWU Law.

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Off the Script: Leading-Edge Technology on the RWU Campus

November 19, 2012

This fall, alumnus, parent and trustee Tim Baxter ’83 – president of Samsung Electronics America – launched a partnership and case study that allowed RWU to roll out a cloud computing platform using state-of-the-art Samsung displays. Among other benefits, the solution saves money for students, frees classrooms and creates an even more collaborative academic environment. Baxter shares thoughts with Don Farish.

Donald Farish:

Tim, let me start by thanking you a great deal for the wonderful consequences of this partnership between Roger Williams and Samsung. I talked with Steve White – dean of our architecture school – the other day, and he is just rhapsodic because he is seeing his expectations exceeded. Not only is the cloud computing approach working well in terms of hardware and software, but they are now calculating how much money this will save for the average student. This feeds right into our Affordable Excellence initiative, and it turns us into a leading-edge campus on this technology. We couldn’t ask much for much more!

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After Early Success, University Expands Effort to Reduce Costs, Encourage Real-World Learning

September 11, 2013

BRISTOL, R.I. – One year after launching the Affordable Excellence initiative to confront the most pressing challenges facing higher education – increasing costs, rising debt and the job-readiness of graduates – Roger Williams University President Donald J. Farish said today that early stages of the strategy have exceeded expectations, and he pledged to redouble the University’s efforts in the coming year.

“Through Affordable Excellence, we are committed to keeping tuition costs down and to creating ‘job-ready’ graduates who benefit from exposure to both liberal arts and professional studies, augmented by project-based learning reflective of the professional world,” Dr. Farish said during his annual State of the University address to faculty and staff. “Ultimately, this means stronger, more competitive graduates who will succeed both professionally and as responsible citizens of the world.”

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University, Samsung Partner on Groundbreaking Ed Tech Initiative

September 6, 2013

Bristol, R.I. – Roger Williams University (RWU) and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. are partnering on a groundbreaking educational technology initiative in an effort to create a more collaborative learning environment, reduce technology costs for college students and set new standards for “affordable excellence” in higher education.

The multi-year project will see a transformation in both the learning and administrative environment at  Roger Williams – starting in its School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation and its School of Continuing Studies – through the integration of Samsung’s cloud access technology and interactive whiteboards.

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Senator Reed Calls For Affordability, Increased Access to Higher Ed

May 1, 2013


BRISTOL, R.I. – With federal student loan interest rates set to double on July 1, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) held a news conference at Roger Williams University this morning to call for bipartisan support of developing legislation that will stabilize interest rates and develop a long-term strategy to address college affordability and a healthy American economy. 

“The reality is that young people today are graduating with enormous debt,” Reed said to a packed room of students, staff and faculty. “It is inhibiting their ability to do what they want to do; it’s inhibiting their ability to participate in the economy. It’s something that is not only affecting us from an educational standpoint, but also from a macroeconomic standpoint.”

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