Anne De Stefano recently earned the Alumna of the Year award from the Rhode Island College Alumni Association. De Stefano, who is a 1966 graduate of the college, earned a bachelor’s degree in history and taught in the Cranston Public School system from 1966 to 1980. In 1973, she co-founded the Conference and Meeting Assistance Corp., a transportation-consulting company, with her husband, Robert De Stefano. She served as its president from 1980 to 1995. She has served as a member and chair of the Providence Convention Bureau, and is currently a member of the St. Elizabeth Community and Rhode Island College Foundation board.
PBN: What does it feel like to be named Alumna of the Year?
DE STEFANO: Thrilling! When I was first told that I had been chosen, I was totally shocked. I couldn’t believe it. Once the reality set in, I was humbled to have been chosen for such a wonderful honor.
PBN: Tell us a little about the Anne and Bob De Stefano Undergraduate Research Program at Rhode Island College.
DE STEFANO: It is an endowed program that my husband and I started in 2009 to afford undergraduate students the opportunity to do research in their field of study. It provides a stipend for both the student and faculty adviser and provides for materials and travel, if necessary, to present his or her work at a professional conference. We are proud that – to date – 26 students have benefited from this program. For many, as a result of their research, they were either accepted into a graduate program or it helped them secure a desirable job opportunity.
PBN: How would you say that Rhode Island College has changed since you were a student there?
DE STEFANO: It has changed dramatically since I was a student in the 1960s. Then, it consisted of basically one curriculum: education. Today, it offers undergraduate and graduate studies in not only education, but nursing, social work, business and the arts. Rhode Island College’s graduates are all over the country and in every profession. Today’s Rhode Island College is an exciting place. Its campus is beautiful, its population [is] diverse and it is bustling with a multitude of activities. I am proud to say that I am a Rhode Island College graduate. To me, it is a hidden jewel of which every Rhode Islander should be proud. •
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