Robert L. Carothers became the 10th president of the University of Rhode Island in 1991. Since then, he has made improvements in the University's structure, infrastructure, culture and curriculum. As a result, the University has become known as a preeminent public institution for higher education.
During his tenure, the University has invested about $700 million in buildings and improvements at all four of its campuses; increased undergraduate enrollment, and increased the diversity among students, faculty and staff; enhanced alumni and private support; and increased the University's endowment funds by more than 740 percent -- from $12 million to about $89 million in 2007.
Throughout his tenure, President Carothers was vocal, visible, and visionary in his efforts to curb alcohol use at URI, in the state, and in the nation. In 1995 he strengthened the alcohol policy and substance abuse prevention programs, steps that led URI to shed its moniker as "a party school." He is renowned for his leadership on this issue that affects the health and safety of students at colleges nationwide.
Carothers' vision for student education shifted students from being passive listeners to active learners and developed their concern for their neighbors, whether across the street or across an ocean. As a result of this and other improvements, in 2005, the same college guide that had earlier labeled URI as the top party school, instead named it a "college with a conscience."
Prior to his arrival at URI, Carothers was chancellor of the Minnesota State University System, which included seven universities and 64,000 students. Before becoming chancellor, he had served as president of Southwest State University. He has the unique distinction of being a poet, lawyer, scholar, and administrator.
Carothers received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Edinboro University; his doctorate from Kent State University; and his Juris Doctor from the McDowell School of Law, University of Akron.