RIC establishes new freshman ceremony marking start of collegiate careers 

Rhode Island College launches a new freshman tradition this year, when students from the incoming Class of 2016 take part in a “Light the Flame” ceremony to recognize the beginning of their undergraduate college careers. Members from the class of 1966 will also participate, as this will mark the 50th anniversary since they arrived on campus.

The event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. on the Campus Quad.

Light the Flame schedule

The Anchor and the Flame, traditional symbols of RIC, will play key roles in the ceremony. Incoming freshmen will be divided into six groups, representing the five counties of Rhode Island and out-of-state students. Each student will receive a specially designed “Light the Flame” t-shirt, color coordinated for each group, along with a candle.

Representatives of the 50th anniversary class, bearing lighted torches, will lead students in a procession to the Anchor on the Quad. Their torches will provide the initial flame that students will use to light their own candles, passing the flame from one to another until all are lit.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and William Fazioli ’86, president of the alumni association, will offer remarks. The Class of 2016 plaque will be affixed to the fence near the Anchor, where it will remain for four years until graduation. The Anchor light will be turned on anew, the symbolic “flame” for the new freshman class.

“The event was created by a group of students who met last spring to develop a way to introduce freshman to the RIC campus,” said Jim Salmo, vice president of college advancement. “These students were able to take all the important symbols associated with Rhode Island, the college and our graduation ceremony and weave them together to create this new tradition for freshmen.”

The Rhode Island College Alumni Association is providing financial support for the event.

The new tradition will come full circle with a similar ceremony to be held when the Class of 2016 graduates, and will include relocating the class plaque from the undergraduate to alumni area.

The “Light the Flame” ceremony will take place every year on the Sunday evening before the start of the fall semester for each incoming freshman class.