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Commencement 2012 at RIC

Rhode Island College will award honorary degrees to five individuals who are prominent in the fields of politics, community leadership, academics, art and entertainment at commencement ceremonies in May.

Advanced degree commencement will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the Murray Center.



Jennifer Duffy (Photo: Liz Lynch/National Journal)
Jennifer E. Duffy, senior editor of The Cook Political Report, will receive an honorary Doctor of Social Sciences and deliver the graduate commencement address.

She is regarded as exceptional in her balanced, research-based perspective, bringing over 25 years of experience in campaign politics. Publisher and founder Charlie Cook, in partnership with Jennifer Duffy and David Wasserman, have built what Bob Schieffer, host of CBS News Face the Nation called “the bible of the political community.”

In October 2009, Jennifer Duffy delivered the keynote address at the American Democracy Project’s (ADP) “Congress to Campus” 3-day event at RIC.


Rabbi Leslie Yale Gutterman
Also at the graduate ceremony, Leslie Yale Gutterman, senior rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Providence, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities.

During his lengthy tenure in Rhode Island, he has been at the forefront of public service, building coalitions that have helped to improve the fabric of the community. Much of his advocacy has been in areas that directly involve RIC graduates, such as education, health care and social work.

His remarkable record of community leadership includes involvement as chair of the RI Committee for the Humanities, board member of Butler Hospital and Miriam Hospital, corporation member of Rhode Island Hospital, founding member (now honorary member) of Hospice Care, Inc., and in numerous other community endeavors.

Undergraduate commencement will take place on Saturday, May 19, at 9:30 a.m. on the college’s esplanade.


Danny Smith
RIC will award RIC grad Daniel G. “Danny” Smith, executive producer and head writer for Fox Television’s “Family Guy,” with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. He will serve as the undergraduate commencement speaker.

Smith’s 20-year career as a Hollywood-based television writer includes work on primetime network comedy shows such as “Head of the Class,” “Nurses” and “3rd Rock from the Sun." His series “Family Guy,” a groundbreaking animated program set in Rhode Island, has garnered six prime-time Emmy Award nominations:

Smith is a 1981 graduate of Rhode Island College, where he acted in many theatre productions and wrote and illustrated for college’s student newspaper.


Margaret Kenney
In the same ceremony, Margaret J. Kenney, professor of mathematics at Boston College, will receive an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree.

Earning her PhD in mathematics at a time when relatively few women were at such an advanced academic level in that field, she served as professor, Department of Mathematics, and assistant to the director, Mathematics Institute of Boston College for over 45 years.

In 2008, Kenney gave the Arthur Smith lecture at Rhode Island College, and more recently, she donated to the college over 16 boxes of books from the extensive library of the Boston College Mathematics Institute.


Regina Partridge
RIC alumna Regina Partridge, artist/art educator and partner, Studio Goddard Partridge, will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the undergraduate ceremony.

Partridge is a Rhode Island artist who has been exhibiting her paintings, drawings and prints since 1988 and has won several awards. Her art is in many private and corporate collections, including banks, hospitals, restaurants and business offices.

Partridge received her Bachelor of Education and her Master of Education degrees from Rhode Island College. She taught for several years in public elementary schools and was the art teacher at the Solomon Schechter School.




Rhode Island College confers about 1,400 graduate and undergraduate degrees annually.

 Honorary degree recipients are chosen on the basis of their exceptional leadership qualities, contributions to civic life or in recognition of high achievement. The nomination, evaluation, and selection process receives input and review from a broad representation of the college community.