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Health science wing in Newport dedicated in memory of Dr. Maureen McGarry
Feb. 26, 2016
So many people turned out for the dedication of the Dr. Maureen McGarry Health Science Wing at the CCRI Newport County Campus today that the celebration needed to spill out into the building’s entrance hall.
It was a fitting tribute, considering that McGarry, who at the time of her death in November 2014 was the dean of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences, was instrumental in the construction of the campus as well as the health sciences programs that it would come to host.
Robyn Greene, head of administration at the campus, looked on as the crowd of more than 60 friends, family and colleagues gathered for the dedication. “She really did spearhead the health sciences programs coming to this campus,” said Greene. “It’s so nice today to be able to honor her for all that she meant to faculty, staff and students here. It’s a day of great pride for us, and I hope for her and her family, too.”
A plaque bearing McGarry’s name was installed in the front of the wing, in direct view of the tree and bench dedicated in her memory. “This is clearly the Dr. Maureen McGarry little square right here, both inside and out,” said Dean of Business, Science, Technology, and Math Peter Woodberry, who opened the dedication proceedings with brief remarks honoring McGarry’s contributions to the college.
Woodberry, who also presided over the memorial service held for McGarry in January 2015, recalled that he and McGarry were “connected at the hip,” and that he had the honor of working alongside her for 28 years. In a nod to the pair’s friendship and notorious shared candy habit, McGarry’s husband, Mike McGarry, handed Woodberry a Life Savers candy after his remarks. “From Maureen,” McGarry said.
Professor Kim Crealey Rouillier, the chairwoman of the Rehabilitative Health Department, praised McGarry’s strong presence in the wider professional community, which helped to build a renowned stable of health sciences programs at the college. “We thank her and think about her every day for that,” said Rouillier. “All of these programs are here because of her.”
In one of McGarry’s last recorded interviews with the college in honor of its 50th anniversary celebration, she looked back with amusement about when she was hired in 1988 as assistant dean and was stationed at the Newport Hospital School of Nursing building, which was the college's satellite campus at the time.
“The second week that I was in the position, we had deliveries for the biology lab and there were no elevators in the building at the time, so we were hoisting these specimens up to the biology lab. And it was sort of like, ‘OK, this is part of my role,’” she said. “We did anything that needed to be done. We oversaw the bookstore and collected money from the students. We tried to be very responsive to the students and to the staff and faculty. We had a wonderful family-type relationship there.”
One of those CCRI family members was Assistant Professor Joseph R. Arsenault, who coordinates the Emergency Management program at the college. He gave a moving tribute to McGarry at the memorial service and also attended the wing dedication to announce the establishment of the Dean Maureen McGarry Memorial Scholarship, a merit-based, perpetual scholarship to benefit students in the CCRI Health and Rehabilitative Science programs. Donations can be made online or via mail through the CCRI Foundation.
“This was very dear to her heart,” said Arsenault. “She believed in students. She mentored me as a student.”
Following the dedication, Rouillier took visitors on tours of the labs in the wing, and everyone gathered in the Atrium to visit with one another, with many attendees embracing tearfully and sharing happy memories of McGarry, and to enjoy coffee and pastries.