Talk about Catching a Big Wave

Roger Williams University raises $1.7 million in one night for new sailing center.

Roger Williams University Sailing Center

This rendering by ACTWO Architects shows the proposed new sailing center at Roger Williams University.Courtesy Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, raised $1.7 million during a single night this month at its 10th Annual Captain’s Cup Regatta. The money will be used to build a 6,000-square-foot sailing center for the university’s sailing team and members of the public interested in sailing courses.

“This new sailing center will be a venue of tremendous value to the campus as a whole and to the local community, but it is also absolutely essential for Roger Williams University to remain a nationally ranked sailing team,” University President Donald J. Farish stated in a press release. “Our objective is to raise the entire $3 million cost of the building through philanthropy. Coupled with the $390,000 raised previously, we stand now at $2.1 million, and we hope to break ground next March.”

At the Captain’s Cup Regatta, Richard L. Bready, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, surprised the crowd at a live fund-raising auction in the Herreshoff Marine Museum by donating $1 million. Once the noise died down, further donations followed, including $500,000 from a sailing family in Florida and $100,000 from an anonymous donor by telephone.

Ten student athletes from the university have been named All Americans in the past 10 years, and one went on to sail in the Olympics. This year also marked a first for the university’s sailing program, which qualified to compete in all three Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association championships. Learn more at