Alumni and College Relations
2017 Alumni Awards
John Nazarian Alumnus of the Year
John J. Smith Jr. ’63, M.Ed. ’67, C.A.G.S. ’67
History & Tradition
Rhode Island College, the first of the three public institutions of higher education in Rhode Island, was founded in 1854 as the Rhode Island Normal School on Benefit Street in Providence. The college's goal was to provide teacher preparation to qualified high school graduates in Rhode Island. In 1898 a new building adjacent to the State House was dedicated and in 1920 the name was changed to the Rhode Island College of Education. During the 1958-59 academic year, the college moved to its current location, a 180-acre park-like campus in the Mount Pleasant section of Providence. In 1959 the college was renamed Rhode Island College to reflect its mission as a comprehensive institution of higher learning.
The first alumni association was formed in 1887. Today we are proud to serve as a resource to the more than 50,000 alumni who continue to support the college and contribute to the Rhode Island and the region in multiple ways.
Alumni facts: (including January, 2016 graduates)
- Total – 68,861
- Living – 60,298
- Reachable – 56,252
- International – 110
- Number of states with alumni representation – all 50 states and the District of Columbia
- Deceased – 8,563