Freshmen Take First Steps on Road to Success

RIC President Frank D. Sánchez and RIC freshman Kirsten Silverman, with her mother Karen.

RIC President Frank D. Sánchez and RIC freshman Kirsten Silverman, with her mother Karen.


When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon he called it, “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Almost 100 RIC freshmen just took their first steps, not on the moon, but on the road to academic success. They’ve earned grade point averages of 3.5 or higher in their first semester of college.

For hitting this milestone, they were inducted into RIC’s elite 3.5 Society on March 2. The induction ceremony began at exactly 3:50 p.m., attended by parents, faculty, staff and administrators.

Presiding over the ceremony was RIC President Frank D. Sánchez, Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Pitt, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Holly Shadoian and Director of the College Honors Program and Advisor to the 3.5 Society Professor Rebecca Sparks.

These students join more than 700 other RIC freshmen who achieved this honor over the last four years. Like Armstrong, they dreamed big dreams, embraced grand visions and won academic excellence.

“I remember my own freshman year in college,” said Todd Chesanek, father of RIC freshman Megan Chesanek. “I remember how hard it was to get adjusted. It took me three years to figure out college, yet my daughter did it in one semester. I think it’s a lot harder for kids today with all the social pressures. When I was in college, if I got a call from my mom at the dorm, I took the call on the payphone down the hall. But today, with social media, distractions are a lot easier.” Suffice it to say, the Chesaneks are “very, very proud” of their daughter’s accomplishment.

Sánchez beamed with pride as each student stepped onto the stage to receive his or her certificate. He said, in his closing remarks:

“On behalf of Rhode Island College I wish to express our pride in your achievement and congratulations to all of you, the newest members of the 3.5 Society. All of you are shining examples of what happens when hard work, perseverance and focus on your goals takes place.” 

“I encourage you to stay engaged and remain curious and share your knowledge as you grow both personally and academically at this institution. May you find in the years ahead the rewards of a Rhode Island College scholar: imagination, adventure, humor, passion and understanding,” he said. “May you have an open approach with all people, generosity in giving to those in need and empathy for the feelings of others. By relating your education to the world, you will make a meaningful contribution to society.”

RIC freshman Paloma Borgia (center), with her brother Sebastian Borgia and her father Geo Borgia of Cranston, Rhode Island


RIC freshman Megan Chesanek (center), with her father Todd Chesanek and her mother Elizabeth Chesanek of Sutton, Massachusetts

See full list of 3.5 Society Inductees.