RIC awards baccalaureate degrees to 1,478, honorary doctorates to 3 at undergraduate commencement

RIC’s undergraduate degree commencement exercises, held on May 19, featured the largest number of graduates ever – 1,478 – breaking the old record of 1,347 set in 1995.The college conferred bachelor’s degrees from its five schools of Education, Management, Nursing, Social Work and Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo
Graduates list    Photo gallery

Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo told the graduates, “As your president, I want you to know how proud I am of you. You are RIC's largest graduating class. You are also the first class in which most of you began as freshmen with me as your president. That makes your class very special to me. My advice is to know that you have received a first-rate education from a first-rate faculty at the first institution of public higher education in R.I., founded in 1854.”

Elected officials providing greetings included Governor Lincoln Chafee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman James Langevin, Congressman David Cicilline, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi. Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, whose son, Joseph, graduated with a BA degree, also attended the commencement.

Elected officials who attended the commencement include, clockwise from top left, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman James Langevin, Mayor Angel Taveras, Mayor Charles Lombardi and Congressman David Cicilline.
Lorne Adrain, chair of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, delivered remarks. Ray Di Pasquale, acting commissioner of higher education, and several board members were in attendance.

RIC grad Daniel G. “Danny” Smith, executive producer and head writer for Fox Television’s “Family Guy,” received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Additionally, Smith delivered the commencement address.

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.

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

In his address, Smith told the new grads that the skills he learned as a RIC undergrad earned him numerous awards and success as a television writer.

“One of the few things I’m proud of is my RIC diploma and the time I spent on the RIC campus,” Smith said.

In referring to how far his RIC education has taken him, he said, “You have something very solid and formidable that will always stay with you.”

“No forward movement is ever wasted,” he added. “It’s the things you don’t do that you regret.”

Margaret J. Kenney, professor of mathematics at Boston College, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree.

Danny Smith '81, left, Regina Partridge '62 and Margaret Kenny were awarded honorary doctorates.
Earning her PhD in mathematics at a time when few women were at such an advanced level in that field, Kenney has served as mathematics professor and assistant to the director of the Boston College Mathematics Institute for over 45 years. In 2001, she was inducted into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame of Mathematics Educators as a founding member.

The largest graduating class in RIC history received baccalaureate degrees in the May 19 exercises.
RIC alumna Regina Partridge, artist/art educator and partner, Studio Goddard Partridge, received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

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.

A strong advocate for the arts in Rhode Island, Partridge is a member of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and a board member of the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative.

The Golden Anniversary Class of 1962 presented the college with a gift of over $38,700 to name the courtyard that currently exists on approximately 18,000 square feet of land between Alger Hall and the Art Center. The Class of 1962 Courtyard is the section of campus where the 1962 commencement was held.

RIC's Golden Anniversary Class of 1962 marches in to the ceremony.

Also participating in the advanced degree commencement ceremonies were Ron Pitt, vice president for academic affairs; Gary Penfield, RIC vice president for student affairs; James Salmo, vice president for college advancement; William Gearhart, vice president for administration and finance; David Blanchette, dean of the School of Management; Alexander Sidorkin, dean of the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development; Earl Simson, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Jane Williams, dean of the School of Nursing; and Sue Pearlmutter, dean of the School of Social Work.