A tribute to Ivy Denise Locke from those who knew her best

Ivy Denise Locke
Ivy Denise Locke had a “serenity corner” in her office. It was an area where she could go when things got stressful, and she needed a moment of tranquility. This was just one way she will be remembered by the RIC community.

To hear those who spoke of Locke at her memorial tribute at RIC on April 5, it was apparent that she was the source of serenity for others, who recalled her wide smile, caring ways and love of the college, the state and its beaches.

Locke, RIC’s vice president for administration and finance, died unexpectedly on March 26. Though her title was indicative of her professional skills in business and management, her connection to the college was deeply personal. This was evidenced by those who spoke of her interest in the lives of the students at RIC, and of her colleagues and their children.

“Ivy never met a stranger…just potential new friends,” said RIC President Nancy Carriuolo.

Locke supervised large portions of the college, including facilities, finance, human resources and security, but her reach also extended to the individuals within those departments. In fact, she once described her areas of responsibility in human terms – as the skeleton and circulatory system supporting the body, which is academics.

Rob Bower addresses the memorial tribute attendees.
Jason Blank, dean of the faculty, and Rob Bower, president of the Professional Staff Association, were sometimes on opposite sides of Locke when she was negotiating on behalf of college management.

Blank lauded her leadership of RIC’s Master Plan and said that when questions arose about an issue and she told him, “I will find out and get back to you,” she always did.

Bower noted that Locke, a native of Atlanta, Ga., possessed “Southern hospitality” and that her “relations with others were grounded in love and respect.”

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo
At RIC, Locke oversaw work related to buildings and numerous upgrades to campus infrastructure. Coworkers who spoke at the tribute emphasized how she built strong friendships during her four years at the college.

Marlene Lopes, associate professor in Adams Library, said Locke remembered people and made a point of asking about their families.

“Strong but gentle, she often used humor to make a point,” Lopes said. “She accomplished much in the short time she was here.”

Locke’s brother Dr. Thomas Locke III and several of her relatives attended the tribute. He said he didn’t ever recall seeing a frown on his sister’s face.

She was a firm believer in the truth, and that it must be told, said Thomas Locke. “Honesty was just Ivy, like a synonym.”

Ivy Locke's brother, Thomas Locke III
Her brother, a physician, plans to launch a website about healthy lifestyles named for words they spoke to each other – “I love you too” – on Dec. 26, Locke’s birthday.

Her cousin Henry (“Reggie”) Kelly thanked everyone who participated in and attended the memorial tribute. He said he was proud that “my little cousin was the vice president of such a caring community.”

Bob Tetreault, assistant vice president for Human Resources, and Roxann Johnson-Nance, budget director, provided poignant recollections of Locke, with Johnson-Nance reciting a poem she wrote, titled “Ivy’s Treasure Box.”

RIC students Joshua Laguerre, president of Student Community Government, and Malinda Bridges, an intern, also offered words about Locke. Musical tributes were provided by RIC students Cory Waldron, who performed “Coming Home,” and Martha L. Gannon who sang “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Attendees viewed a video featuring quotes and photos of Locke and remembrances from friends at RIC. It was produced by Michael Smith, assistant to the president, and Karen Rubino, director of Web Communications.

RIC student Cory Waldron
As Locke began her career at RIC in 2006, she said that between then and retirement she hoped to see all 400 miles of the Rhode Island’s Atlantic coastal waterways. On display at the tribute was a map of the state with red stickers indicating all the beaches she had visited over the years.

Carriuolo noted that Locke was born on the day after Christmas and passed during the Easter season. “And I know that Ivy, who was one of the most spiritual people I know, would have trusted that her own birth on earth and (her) rebirth in heaven were surely meant to be.”

The college has established the Dr. Ivy D. Locke Memorial Fund. Donations can be made online at www.ric.edu/givenow, by phone at (401) 456-8407, or by check (Payable to RIC Foundation, 600 Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908, with Dr. Ivy D. Locke Memorial Fund on the memo line).

James Salmo, vice president for college advancement and executive director of the RIC Foundation, will consult with the Locke family on an appropriate way to honor Locke's memory on campus.