The graduating class of 2012 set a benchmark not only for themselves, but for the college itself, as the largest number of graduates Rhode Island College has ever seen with 1,478 students walking the stage.
On May 19, Danny Smith ’81 – the executive producer and head writer for “Family Guy,” and a RIC graduate in his own right – delivered the commencement address as key- note speaker. Smith also received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
“One of the few things I’m proud of is my RIC diploma and the time I spent on the RIC campus,” said Smith. “No forward movement is ever wasted. It’s the things you don’t do that you regret.”
RIC President Nancy Carriuolo congratulated the students and lent advice.
“As your president, I want you to know how proud I am of you,” she said. “You are RIC’s largest graduating class. You are also the first class in which most of you began as fresh- men 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 Rhode Island, founded in 1854,” she added.
Many success stories were found among the 1,400-plus graduating students.
“I received an excellent education at RIC,” said Angela Jacavone, a graduating biological chemistry major. Jacavone was able to transition from RIC into a lab technician role at MIT. She credits John Williams, RIC professor of physical sciences, as well as several other professors, for teaching in a style that “is very personalized.”
Recent graduate Mariama Kurbally and current senior Kristina Grande plan to make their way to both Chicago and Detroit this summer as trainees of the non-profit organization Teach for America to teach in low-income communities across the country. Kurbally will teach students in a Detroit public school this fall.
“I am very proud to be a part of the Rhode Island College family,” Kurbally said. “My involvement on campus and in the Rhode Island community as a service learner has really allowed me to refine my skills and grow in a way that I am confident, ready and capable of handling this challenge.”
RIC’s five schools of Education saw their bachelor students off with a ceremony that included Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline, North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. Other notable appearances included Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisain and Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, whose son was present and was awarded a B.A. degree during the commencement.
Also in attendance were Lorne Adrain, the chair of the Rhode Is- land Board of Governors for Higher Education, and Ray Di Pasquale, the acting commissioner of higher education.
Margaret J. Kenney, a professor of mathematics at Boston College, was awarded the honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree. In 2001, Kenney was inducted into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame of Mathematics Educators as a founding member for her efforts and accomplishments, including her time served as assistant to the director of the B.C. Mathematics Institute for over 45 years.
During the ceremony, the Golden Anniversary Class of 1962 bequeathed a gift of over almost $39,000 to the college to name the courtyard between Alger Hall and the Art Center; the very courtyard from which the class of ‘62’s commencement ceremony took place 50 years ago.
With more than 150 years of academic history and graduates, RIC is not only the oldest public institution for higher learning in the state; it also maintains the constant reminder to students that one can achieve great academic success and a second-to-none education for an affordableprice.