Cap and Gown Convocation – May 4, 2011



Cap and Gown Convocation, RIC’s annual event celebrating the accomplishments of its graduating seniors, opened the commencement season on May 4 in the Auditorium in Roberts Hall.

“Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by the RIC Wind Ensemble, played while students in graduation regalia filed into the Auditorium, where Departmental Awards were conferred, graduating seniors participated in the traditional capping ceremony and the 2011 class officers presented RIC President Nancy Carriuolo with the senior class gift.


Photo Gallery


RIC Professor Anne Carty presents graduating senior Donielle Mattoon with an award.

Daniel Reeves receives an award from RIC Professor Spencer Hall.
Departmental Awards were announced by Ron Pitt, vice president for academic affairs. Among the recipients was Donielle Mattoon, who earned the Helen M. Murphy Award, which honors an outstanding RIC senior woman athlete. Mattoon, a dean’s list psychology student, has an active involvement in the Tri-Town Community Action Agency, which provides social and advocacy services to people in need.

A star shortstop on the RIC softball team, she is a recipient of the Rhode Island Speaker of the House Scholar Athlete Award and was a Little East Selection and All New England Selection named MVP twice by the RIC softball team. She plans to study physical therapy in graduate school.

Daniel Reeves was a two-time winner, taking the W. Christina Carlson Award for Excellence in Biology and the Eleanor M. McMahon Award, given to a senior in the College Honors Program on the basis of overall scholastic achievement and quality of the honors project.


Reeves has been a tutor, a research assistant for the Biology Department, a volunteer for the Blackstone River Coalition and assistant zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo.


Students participate in the traditional capping ceremony.
He traveled to Australia on a Shinn Study Abroad grant, and will be doing further research on his honors project this summer and will apply to PhD programs in biology next year.

The Claiborne deB. Pell Award and Evelyn Walsh Prize, both in history, were given to Michelle Valletta, an intern at Brown University, who wrote descriptions of over 500 items related to Rhode Island’s Land Grant history between 1860 and 1880. Her work is now catalogued in the Special Collections at Brown and available online.

Gary Penfield, vice president for student affairs, recognized the RIC seniors whose names appear in this year’s “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Suzanne Healy-Wurzburg, chosen to be class speaker, discussed her fondness for RIC and her growth as a student at the college. In his convocation address, Robert Castiglione, professor of philosophy, began a sentence with “When RIC graduates are at their best, they are…” several times throughout his speech, ending with “tough-minded,” “fair,” “generous” and “optimistic.”


A donation of $2,000 toward the RIC bus shelter project is presented on behalf of the Class of 2011.
The class gift – a $2,000 donation to the campus bus shelter project – was presented by Lisa Benetti, class vice president, and Dante Tavolaro, class treasurer.

The National Anthem was sung by students John Birt, Jessica DeKeulenaere, Jason Hervieux, Jorge Mateo, Jacqueline Pina, James Suchodolskiand and Christine Warren.

The traditional singing of RIC’s “Alma Mater” song closed the event. It was written and composed 90 years ago by Grace Electa Bird, a professor of educational psychology at the college from 1914 through 1942 and one of RIC’s 13 original professors.