NEWPORT, R.I. – Salve Regina University has received a $1 million gift from the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust to endow its first named academic program. The gift and the naming of the Noreen Stonor Drexel Cultural and Historic Preservation Program will be formally announced to the university community during a reception on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. in the Antone Academic Center on Lawrence Avenue.
The gathering will bring together university faculty, students, staff and supporters to acknowledge the generosity of the late Mrs. Drexel and of the Trust, on which she served as an original trustee, not just for their commitment to campus preservation over the years but to their philanthropic efforts throughout Newport County.
A short speaking program in the Rodgers Gallery will feature remarks from Sister Jane Gerety, Salve Regina president; Janet L. Robinson, chairman of the board of trustees; Robert Russell, professor and chairman of the university’s interdisciplinary program in cultural and historic preservation (CHP); and Donald Christ, chairman of the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust.
“Noreen Drexel was a champion of the preservation and adaptive reuse of Salve Regina’s priceless collection of historically significant buildings that make up this stunning campus,” Christ said during the university’s 2008 dedication of Stonor and Drexel Halls and of the Alletta Morris Archway. “She is a symbol of what vision and commitment can do.”
A longtime Salve Regina trustee, Mrs. Drexel was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters during the university’s 1999 commencement. She died last November.
“In naming and endowing the Noreen Stonor Drexel Cultural and Historic Preservation Program, we are stewarding the progress of this institution toward ever-increasing excellence,” Gerety said. “Mrs. Drexel will continue to be, as she always was, Salve Regina’s guardian angel.”
Salve Regina’s CHP program is one of only 13 undergraduate programs nationwide that has been certified by the National Council for Preservation Education. Funding from the endowed program will, among other things, establish a program of visiting lecturers and scholars, and develop an archival component to the curriculum to train students in the terminology, methodology and techniques used by archivists.