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WEST GREENWICH - While the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s Kingston campus, Bay campus and Providence campus all have unique characteristics that make them beautiful, URIâ€™s most alluring and charming campus may be none of the three.
That distinction belongs to the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich, a scenic and surreal 2,300-acre estate that remains today in the form that nature has always intended it to be. The campus was given to the University as a gift in 1962, and its 50th anniversary will be commemorated by URI throughout 2012.
The campus is used for many things, and is not your typical college campus. It houses the Whispering Pines Conference Center, which is commonly used as a retreat site for groups and businesses. Also, the campus is the site for many summer camps, natural research for school groups, and even a good number of weddings.
â€śThe campus is a really a special place,â€ť said Director of Campus Thomas Mitchell, who has held his current post since 1988. â€śIt is a place where virtually everyone that comes here has a strong emotional reaction to the natural beauty of campus.â€ť
â€śIn my opinion,â€ť he continued, â€śthe campus has made a difference in many peopleâ€™s lives in many different ways.â€ť
He referenced examples of a child spending their first time away from home at summer camp or learning something new about nature while at the campus to communicate the impact that the campus can have.
The kickoff to the anniversary celebration will be this Saturday, Feb. 25, at a URI Menâ€™s Basketball game at the Ryan Center. School teachers, customers from the conference center and brides of campus weddings will be on hand at the game while the campus is commemorated.
For more information, pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.