Blount Donates Cruise Ship to Three Colleges

Friday, April 21, 2006
According to reports, three colleges will share a donation from philanthropist and shipbuilder Luther Blount -- a 175-ft. cruise ship. Blount announced he will give the ship, called the Niagara Prince, to Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University and Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston when it retires in the fall. Blount graduated from Wentworth in 1937 with a degree in machine construction and tool design. He received honorary doctorates from Rhode Island College and Roger Williams University. The Niagara Prince was built in Warren in 1994. It has a retractable pilothouse that allows it to pass through shallow waters and low-lying bridges. It can carry up to 90 passengers and crew. The ship has been cruising the Mississippi River from Chicago to New Orleans, but it was recently refurbished in Warren and left Tuesday for Florida, Blount said. The vessel will complete runs there, cruise the Great Lakes this summer and do some fall foliage trips in Maine. Then the $6.5 million ship will return to Warren to be turned over to the colleges. Blount said he expects the schools to sell the boat and split the proceeds. Roger Williams President Roy Nirschel said the money will benefit the university's aquaculture and marine science programs. The presidents of the other two colleges expressed appreciation for the gift but did not say how the money would be used. Source: Providence Journal

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