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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Abby Donates a 250,000-Square-Foot Building

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Abby Johnson and her team are doubling down on their support of a 160-year-old, 3,800-student New England university near one of the Boston Behemoth's campuses.

Abigail "Abby" Pierrepont Johnson
FMR (dba Fidelity Investments)
Chair, President, CEO
Last week, Michelle Vetovis (senior vice president, general manager, and Rhode Island regional manager for Fidelity Investments [profile]), Ross Gittell (president of Bryant University), Randy Rossi (town manager of Bryant's hometown of Smithfield, Rhode Island), and David Beirne (chair of Bryant's board of trustees) revealed that Boston-based Fidelity has donated a 250,000-square-foot building to Bryant. The building is 100 Salem Street; it is on Fidelity's Smithfield campus and across the street from the current entrance to Bryant.

According to the Bryant team, they plan to build out the donated building to include: classrooms; "entrepreneurial innovation space"; labs; meeting and gathering spaces; and office space for both faculty and administration. The expansion will allow the creation of Bryant's "Innovative and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem" initiative and will contribute to Bryant's Vision 2030 plan for updating the school's campus.

Vetovis puts the building donation in the context of the existing Fidelity-Bryant connection. Gittell lauds Fidelity as one of the university's "longstanding corporate partners." The Bryant team describes the donation as the university's most significant real estate gift since 1967 (when the donation of farmland led the school to move from Providence to a new campus in Smithfield).

"Fidelity and Bryant have a more than 20-year relationship and, for roles located on our Smithfield campus, we hire more current and former Bryant students than from any other higher educational institutiona," Vetovis states. "Fidelity remains committed to this community and looks forward to the potential impact this will have for future growth and opportunities for both institutions."

"The donation of 100 Salem Street will allow our Smithfield campus to grow in a thoughtful, strategic, and purpose-driven manner," Gittell states.

Rossi calls Fidelity's donation "a win-win for the town of Smithfield" and notes that the fund firm is expanding in Rhode Island.

"With Fidelity on track to add more jobs in the state, having Bryant's bright talent pool right next door is a way to keep high-skilled college graduates right here in northern Rhode Island," Rossi states.

Beirne adds that the donation gives Bryant's college of business "needed innovation space for ... students to ideate bold, future-forward visions to transform the world." 

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