NEWPORT, R.I. – A holiday gesture from a Salve Regina family will not only support student scholarships, but also local military personnel who have recently returned from tours of duty in Iraq.
Salve Regina Trustee David Nelson and his wife Gail (parents of 1999 graduate Laura Nelson), made a donation to reserve a table at the university’s 35th annual Governor’s Ball, to be held in Ochre Court on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. Unable to attend the black-tie gala themselves, the Nelsons extended an invitation to local military personnel and their families to be seated at their table.
Among the honored guests will be U.S. Army Capt. Anselm T.W. Richards and his wife Caroline (both Salve Regina alumni); U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Colin Corridan and his wife Kate, both of Newport; and U.S. Army Maj. Robert Phillips of Newport. Maj. Phillips and Lt. Cmdr. Corridan served together in Baghdad, returning in March.
Capt. Richards, assistant professor of military science in the ROTC department at Salve Regina, served a tour of duty in Iraq (2005-2006) and Egypt (2007-2008).
“First, let us say how appreciative we are that Salve is willing to execute our wish to make this table happen for the Ball,” Nelson said. “We are really just pleased and honored to be able thank our servicemen/women who have put their lives on the line to keep our country safe and secure. We join with Salve to honor their service, courage and sacrifice. We hope they have a terrific time at the Ball.”
Salve Regina ROTC students, seniors Christopher Buckman, Andrew Maher, Deanna Ciccarell and junior Steven Benavides will also be in attendance, serving in the receiving line to kick off the evening, and then attending the ball as guests.
“Certainly, people in uniform don’t do it for the thank you but because they feel it’s the right thing to do,” Capt. Richards said. “But it always feels nice when people say ‘thank you.’”
Started in 1977 with the assistance of former Rhode Island Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy, Salve Regina’s Governor’s Ball has raised almost $5 million for student scholarships and has become a well-known holiday tradition. It is attended annually by local business leaders, alumni, parents and friends.
“The spirit of the holiday season is celebrated in the Governor’s Ball,” said Michael Semenza, vice president of University Relations and Advancement. “For 35 years our region’s corporate community and so many generous individuals have given the gift of a college education to thousands of students. This year, that generous spirit is realized in another touching and timely way, as Salve Regina trustee David Nelson and his wife Gail honor and celebrate men and women who have served our country overseas by giving them a gift of a gala evening.”