football player

Paving The Way

Rhody Excellence was created to help University of Rhode Island athletes succeed on a new playing field.

When college athletes became eligible to benefit from their own name, image and likeness (NIL), several alums and prominent Rhody donors recognized an opportunity to combine sports industry leaders and put their ”collective” experience to use to empower URI student-athletes to elevate their NIL opportunities — all while allowing them to focus on their academic and athletic responsibilities.

Rhody Excellence is bringing creative and innovative opportunities to this new college athletics landscape.

Ultimately, Rhody Excellence’s mission is to empower URI student-athletes to be successful in the brand and marketing landscape, as well as maximize revenue opportunities.


Michael D. Fascitelli

Michael D. Fascitelli ’78 H’08 is a current owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and a former URI basketball player. He is the Founder of MDF Capital LLC and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Imperial Companies. Mr. Fascitelli previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Vornado Realty Trust as well as President of Alexander’s Inc. He continues to serve as a Trustee of Vornado Realty Trust. Prior to joining Vornado, he was a Partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Currently, he is a Trustee of Invitation Homes, as well as Chairman of the Investment Committee and Board Member of Cadre, Board Member at Child Mind Institute, The Rockefeller University and Urban Land Institute. Mr. Fascitelli holds an MBA, with highest distinction, from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Rhode Island.

Kacey Light
Ex Officio

Kacey Light serves as URI’s Chief NCAA Compliance Officer and is a ten-year career in the field including work at Central Connecticut State, Ohio State University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and now in her second stint at the University of Rhode Island. She currently oversees all aspects and operations of the URI Athletic Compliance office, serves on the departments senior leadership team and is the liaison to the University President’s office for official NCAA compliance issues. Light earned her bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College where she was a member of the women’s rowing team and earned her master’s degree from CCSU in physical education, with a sport studies concentration.

Kevin M. Lopes

Kevin Lopes ’05 is a former URI Men’s Track and Field athlete and is the vice chairman of the University of Rhode Island Foundation and Alumni Engagement (URIFAE). Kevin also served as the URI Student Body President from 2003 – 2005. He currently leads ESPN’s Business Development and Innovation teams, which includes identifying and evaluating third-party opportunities including advanced technology initiatives. Kevin has extensive ESPN experience having worked at the company for 15 years. During his first 10 years on the programming team, he was responsible for scheduling and operational oversight of 10K+ live digital events, digital collegiate acquisitions, and esports programming acquisitions and strategy. Prior to ESPN, Kevin worked at the Big East Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. He has a Bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Rhode Island.

David Martirano

David Martirano ’91 is the Chairman of the URI Board of Trustees Student Life and Athletics Committee. An avid basketball fan and supporter of the University, David is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Point Judith Capital (PJC). PJC, an early-stage Venture Capital Fund is investing out of its 5th fund. Prior to PJC, David co-founded Rex Capital Ventures, which invested internationally in early-stage companies. Prior to founding Rex, he worked at Cowen & Co. He currently sits on the Investment Committee for Lifespan. He was previously a member of the URI College of Business Advisory Council and was on the founding board of Year Up Providence. Mr. Martirano holds an MBA, from Columbia Business School and a B.S. in Business from the University of Rhode Island.

Thomas M. Ryan

Thomas Ryan ’75 H’99 has played a foundational role in the success of the University of Rhode Island. His commitment to the University includes the namesake of the URI Basketball’s home, the Thomas M. Ryan Center, one of the best arenas and hardest place to play in college basketball. The former President and CEO of CVS and Director of Five Below who currently works as Operating Partner of Advent International and Director of PJT Partners. He served as Chair of the URI Foundation and Alumni Engagement Board of Directors, is currently a member of the URI Foundation and Alumni Engagement Campaign Committee, and the URI President’s Advisory Council.