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CCRI lands $5m gift, largest in its history, to launch casino and hospitality program

The gift is among the largest contributions to any community college so far this year

The Community College of Rhode Island's Flanagan campus, which occupies a 300-acre site in Lincoln.CCRI

LINCOLN, R.I. — The Community College of Rhode Island is expected to receive a $5 million donation — the largest gift in the school’s nearly 60-year history — from Bally’s Corporation, to develop and launch new programs in the gaming, hospitality, and security industries.

The investment, announced Thursday at a press conference at CCRI’s campus in Lincoln, will make the community college the sole higher education institution in the state to offer students the opportunity to obtain a certificate or associate degree rooted in a comprehensive gaming-focused curriculum, according to Interim President Rosemary Costigan.

Degree programs, which are expected to be made available by the fall 2024 semester, will encompass traditional classroom learning, online courses, on-campus learning labs, and experiential opportunities at Bally’s properties. Bally’s, an entertainment company headquartered in Providence, owns and operates 15 casinos across 10 states including the Twin River casino in Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton. The company also runs online sports betting operations in 18 states.

This new program will span the spectrum of casino and hospitality subjects, such as dealer training, casino operations, cybersecurity, iGaming operations, culinary arts, hotel management, and slot technology.


The college’s Division of Workforce Partnerships will also develop and launch short-term certificate programs to upskill Bally’s existing workforce and create a “robust talent pipeline” for new employees.

“While this donation is the latest milestone in our long-term partnership with CCRI, we look forward to supporting this program for many years to come, creating a legacy of economic opportunity,” said Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim.

The gift is among the largest contributions to any community college so far this year. In April, Holyoke Community College announced it received a pledge of more than $10 million.

Former CCRI president Meghan Hughes, who recently left the college after seven years, for family reasons, said Bally’s contribution marked “an extraordinary moment in the college’s history” and the partnership “stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and industry collaboration.”


In addition to the new certificate and degree programs, Bally’s investment in CCRI will also provide scholarships to qualifying Rhode Islanders who are seeking a career in gaming and hospitality industries.

Thursday’s news comes as the community college has been focused on its workforce partnerships with local businesses. CCRI is now the leading trainer of employees at Electric Boat, the state’s largest industrial employer. More than 1,000 employees at the company will receive training at the community college this year alone, according to Amy Kempe, a CCRI spokeswoman.

In addition to Lincoln, CCRI has campuses across the state, including in Warwick, Providence, Newport, Westerly, and Woonsocket.

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.