RIC receives $3M gift for nursing program, largest in school’s history

RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE has received a $3 million gift from philanthropist Edward Avedisian to support the college's nursing school. / COURTESY RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE
RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE has received a $3 million gift from philanthropist Edward Avedisian to support the college's nursing school. / COURTESY RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island College was the recipient of its largest individual gift in RIC’s history to support its nursing program, the college announced Wednesday evening.

The state college was gifted $3 million from philanthropist Edward Avedisian. 

In addition, the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education voted to approve a renaming of the college’s School of Nursing to the Zvart Onanian School of Nursing, in honor of Avedesian’s sister, Zvart Avedisian Onanian, a former licensed practical nurse.

The gift will fund an endowed professorship in the area of nursing simulation as well as an endowed scholarship to support nursing students.

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Avedisian was a clarinetist for the Boston Pops for over 35 years and performed with the Boston Ballet Orchestra for over 40 years. He was also a successful private investor, allowing him to engage in many philanthropic donations over the years.

This is not his first large donation to a public college in Rhode Island. In 2017, Avedisian donated $5 million to the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy, creating an endowed professorship in organic chemistry and an endowed scholarship, named after his late brother, the Paramaz Avedisian Pharmacy Scholarship.

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