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Governor Lincoln D. Chafee Recommends Eva-Marie Mancuso for Interim Commissioner of Higher Education

Mancuso Brings Experience as Former Board of Governor, Current Chairperson of the Board of Education to Interim Role

Providence, RI - Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today his recommendation that Eva-Marie Mancuso be appointed as Rhode Island's interim Commissioner of Higher Education.

In June 2012, the General Assembly merged the Board of Governors of Higher Education and the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education into a new 11-member Board of Education, dissolving the Office of Higher Education on July 1, 2014, and requiring that the Board present a plan for the permanent administrative structure for higher education. Since confirmation of Governor Chafee's nominees, the Board has been working towards better coordination for a seamless education system in Rhode Island. The fiscal year 2014 budget recently passed by the General Assembly decreased the Office of Higher Education budget, making this restructuring even more challenging. At the helm of this extensive restructuring has been Eva-Marie Mancuso as Chairperson of the new Board of Education.

"I am pleased to recommend Eva-Marie Mancuso as the Interim Commissioner of Higher Education. The Board of Education has sent the clear message that Rhode Island needs a full-time Commissioner of Higher Education—and I wholeheartedly agree," said Governor Chafee. "It is imperative that our institutions of higher education have a leader in place guiding the transition mandated by the legislature without the additional responsibility of running one of the institutions as is the current set up. I am confident that Eva-Marie is well suited to take on this interim role and to hit the ground running as we conduct our search for a full-time Commissioner of Higher Education."

Eva-Marie served as a member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education and as the Chairperson of its Government Relations Committee. She has been a consistent leader for education and a strong advocate for Rhode Island students and families. Due to her experience, Eva-Marie has had the opportunity to work closely with the three public college and university presidents and has an excellent working relationship with Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

"I am honored that Governor Chafee has asked me to step into the role of Interim Commissioner of Higher Education," said Eva-Marie Mancuso. "I look forward to working closely with the presidents of the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island and providing steadfast leadership during this time of transition to a new administrative structure for higher education in Rhode Island."

Governor Chafee added, "I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Ray Di Pasquale for his years of leadership and unending support and commitment to higher education. Ray readily took on the challenge to wear two hats as Interim Commissioner of Higher Education and President of the Community College of Rhode Island, a yeomen's task that he undertook selflessly. I am grateful that Ray will continue in his role as president of our state's community college system." Ray served as the Interim Commissioner for the last four years.

Eva-Marie Mancuso

Eva-Marie Mancuso is Managing Partner with the law firm of Hamel,Waxler, Allen & Collins. Before joining the firm, Mancuso served as Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island and, prior to that, Assistant District Attorney for Bristol County, Massachusetts. She also has served as Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and as Faculty Advisor to the National College of District Attorneys. Mancuso earned a BA from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and a JD from Suffolk University Law School.

Mancuso is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association, is a former Vice President of the URI Alumni Association, and served as a CCRI Foundation Trustee. She was the Rhode Island Representative to the National Lawyers / Teacher Partnership, and is currently a Civil Trial Specialist with the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Mancuso has been honored as the Rhode Island Business and Professional Woman of the Year, is a recipient of the South County Business Woman of Achievement Award, and received the Outstanding Service Award from the URI Alumni Association.

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