Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University. Photo Credit: Salve Regina University

Newport, RI – In this her 10th and final Governor’s Ball as Salve Regina University president, Sister Jane Gerety will join revelers, including Gov. Gina Raimondo and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, in Ochre Court on Saturday evening with much to celebrate.

With more than $505,500 (and counting) raised for student scholarships, Sister Jane – who is retiring in June 2019 – will close the books on the most successful decade in the Ball’s 42-year history.

Established in 1977 with the assistance of former Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy (1930-2012), the Governor’s Ball has raised nearly $8 million to support students, including $3,897,506 since Sister Jane took over as university president in 2009. Under Sister Jane’s leadership, the Ball has doubled in support ($252,750 raised in 2009 to $505,500 raised in 2018) as the university’s signature event.

The success is a reflection of a president who placed her passion for students and access to education to the top of her leadership priorities. During her tenure, Sister Jane led a major campaign, “Scholars and Scholarships,” to reach 100 gifted, endowed funds valued at over $15 million to support students, faculty and research. More than $10 million was raised for the O’Hare Academic Building project, including a challenge grant to alumni that produced over $1 million and the highest alumni participation for any building project.

Campus buildings and programs were dedicated and named with philanthropic support, including the Rodgers Family Department of Nursing, the Noreen Stonor Drexel Cultural and Historic Preservation Program, and the John E. McGinty Lecture in History. In the last five years alone, more than $30 million in gift and future commitments were received.

“This has been the best job in the world,” Sister Jane has said. “I’ve cherished my work of ensuring that every Salve graduate enters the ‘real world’ with the best chance to succeed—both personally and professionally.”

Under her presidency, Salve Regina launched a doctorate program in nursing, a master of fine arts degree program in creative writing, expanded its programs and experiential learning opportunities in business, engaged in ground-breaking research in the sciences and established a campus in Warwick to serve the academic needs of working adults in graduate and continuing education programs.

Sister Jane oversaw the $26 million renovation of O’Hare Academic Building, which was completed in 2017. The project added 23,000 square feet to the university’s flagship academic building and provided critical updates to educational spaces, including establishing a collaborative learning environment and renovating laboratories for programs in science and nursing. The university opened a digital forensics lab and incorporated cyber education across the undergraduate curriculum.

Prior to her 2009 appointment as Salve Regina’s president, Sister Jane served as the Executive Board Officer for Saint Joseph’s Health System in Atlanta. At this year’s Governor’s Ball, a “Friends of Jane” contingency, the “FOJs” have raised $25,000 in her honor and will make the trip up from Atlanta to attend the event on Saturday.