Richard E. Beaupre: 1962 URI alumnus
Marissa Tansino: What does this mean for this facility to be named after you?
Richard E. Beaupre: “Well to me, I got an honorary degree here in 2003, and I thought that was the end of the story. This is far beyond that. This is the greatest honor I’ve ever had in my lifetime. I’m just amazed at the turnout of people here that have honored me. I’m thrilled, though. I really am.”
Tansino: What are the benefits of this building compared to the old chemistry facility in Pastore Hall?
Beaupre: “The thing about this facility is it has numerous laboratories. It only has a few classrooms, but most of this building, on three or four floors, is laboratories, teaching laboratories, and that’s important.”
Gina Raimondo: Governor of Rhode Island
Tansino: Why is this facility so important for the students and faculty here on campus and for the future of Rhode Island?
Gov. Gina Raimondo: “It’s so important for the students, because with facilities like this that are interdisciplinary and focused on problem solving and collaboration, we’re going to equip our students with the skills they need to get good jobs and to be successful in the 21st century economy. It’s also good for Rhode Island’s economy because businesses are going to want to be in Rhode Island to be near this talent supply coming out of URI.”
William Euler: Chair of Chemistry Department
Tansino: What are the benefits students are going to have coming into this facility?
William Euler: “The biggest difference between Pastore and here, I think, is the workspace for every student is ventilated. In the case of the general chemistry labs, it’s not what we think of as a chemical fume boat, it’s just a small enclosure that the students can work in but it flows the air away from the students so they aren’t breathing anything that they’re working with. While we certainly make every effort to make sure there’s nothing toxic in the teaching labs, you never know when an accident will occur or when two things mix that aren’t supposed to. So that gives them a little bit of extra protection, and that is better for the student. Plus with the donations we’ve received, we were able to buy a whole lot of new equipment that is state of the art that goes down from freshman chemistry all the way through graduate work, research level equipment. Our students will be able to go out there and say ‘I’ve worked with the latest equipment.’ In fact, one of the pieces of equipment we plan to buy has not been released in the United States yet. We will purchase it next year and it will really be their latest greatest piece of equipment.”
Tansino: Why is it so important that students have this kind of 21st century equipment readily available in preparing them for real world situations?
Euler: “Well it’s absolutely critical. The whole university system, not only URI, but everywhere, is going to have more and more of these hands-on type of teaching and learning situations. Chemistry has been doing that for a very long time, we just call it research. Chemistry majors are required to take research courses, and with this facility, we will just have more opportunities for that to happen.”