Rhode Island College, Office of College Communications and Marketing, News Release


Laura Hart, 401-456-8977, lhart@ric.edu
Gita Brown, 401-456-8465, gbrown@ric.edu


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island College has announced its commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients for its 2014 undergraduate degree and graduate degree ceremonies.

Rhode Island storyteller Valerie Tutson will serve as the RIC commencement speaker for the 2014 undergraduate degree ceremony, to be held during the morning of Saturday, May 17. Tutson, who holds bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from Brown University, is the founder and director of both Rhode Island Black Storytellers and FUNDA Fest: A Celebration of Black Storytelling. She also serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Black Storytellers.

Oscar “Tim” Hebert, CEO of the Warwick-based IT company Atrion, will serve as the RIC commencement speaker for the 2014 graduate degree ceremony, to be held during the evening of Thursday, May 15. An expert in the field of strategic technological solutions and leading-edge technologies, Hebert is board chairman of the Tech Collective and serves on the advisory committee for the STEM Center at Rhode Island College.

Both Tutson and Hebert will be awarded honorary degrees from Rhode Island College at the respective ceremonies.

Other RIC honorary degree recipients include:

·     Peter Arpin, partner in Arpin International Group and president of Arpin Renewable Energy and Arpin Broadcast Network. Arpin, who represents the fourth generation of his family to operate the Arpin moving-services company, has been actively involved in RIC’s sustainability and green business efforts.

·     Centenarian Irene Kenny, RIC Class of 1935. Kenny, a retired elementary school teacher with a 40-year career in Rhode Island public schools, is an active alumna and recently attended her 78th RIC class reunion.

·     Charles McDonald, M.D., founding chair of the Department of Dermatology at Brown University. An internationally recognized dermatologist/oncologist, McDonald has published more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters on the development of safe and effective treatments for skin cancer and systemic autoimmune diseases.

·     John Hazen White Jr., CEO and president of Taco Inc. White represents the third generation of his family to own and operate the Cranston-based HVAC system manufacturing company. White is known throughout the region for his strong commitment to employee education and workforce development.

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

Rhode Island College, the first public institution of higher learning in the state, confers approximately 1,200 undergraduate degrees and 300 graduate degrees each year.  

Established in Providence in 1854, Rhode Island College serves approximately 9,000 graduate and undergraduate students annually through its five schools: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Feinstein School  of Education and Human Development, the School of Social Work, the School of Management and the School of Nursing. For more information, visit www.ric.edu.