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BankNewport president got her start at CCRI
When Sandra Pattie ’76 enrolled at the Community College of Rhode Island in 1974, she did not know what she wanted to do for a career.
“I was not a college-bound student while in high school and I actually had no intention of going to college,” she said. “But I began working and realized I needed a college education to accomplish anything that I wanted to accomplish.”
One of her CCRI professors, Daniel Garvey, encouraged her to continue her education and think about a future career. She attended Providence College, Garvey’s alma mater, and studied accounting.
For Pattie, CCRI was a springboard that taught her the value of lifelong learning and inspired her to find a fulfilling career. This is an experience she believes a lot of the college’s students share.
“I think it’s really important for younger kids today to understand that they don’t have to make a career decision at this point in time,” Pattie said. “ … they can start off at CCRI, develop their interests, get a solid core base of learning and understanding, know how to study, how to develop and move on to a greater opportunity.”
Pattie used CCRI to launch what has been a standout career in financial services. She began working at BankNewport in 1984 and has held many positions within the organization. She was the bank’s chief operating officer for 10 years and was chosen as its first female president last year.
BankNewport has 12 branches throughout Rhode Island and is one of the oldest savings banks in the country.
“As president of BankNewport, I have the opportunity to be the steward of an organization that has a 200-year history,” Pattie said. “Banking is changing rapidly, as most other industries are, so we’re having to constantly recreate ourselves, but we have to do it in a very prudent manner … to meet customer needs today.”
The bank has been a longtime partner with CCRI. It was a major donor during the construction of CCRI’s Newport County Campus and CCRI has offered classes for BankNewport employees through its Center for Workforce and Community Education.
Before becoming BankNewport president, Pattie took the opportunity to give back to CCRI by serving on the Foundation Board for 12 years.
“Joining the CCRI Foundation was such a wonderful way for me to give back,” she said. “I had such a great experience and such a great start at CCRI that the ability to spread [the college’s] message was really important to me.”
Pattie said that CCRI graduates do not have to wait before becoming involved with the college.
“I would recommend that new graduates get in touch with the Alumni Association,” she said. “It keeps them in touch with the school while it’s still a fresh experience for them … and being connected to their roots will certainly help them grow.”
Pattie added that CCRI played an important role in her own growth and development as a student, a professional and an individual.
“CCRI prepared me to understand that you really have to be flexible and fluid. You have to take responsibility and accountability,” she said. “That’s really something that I learned while I was at CCRI, that no one was going to guarantee you a future, you had to make your own future. You have to develop your own dream and work towards that dream.”
She added, “CCRI gives you the opportunity to really develop the tool set that you’re going to need to go forward.”