KINGSTON, RI – January 19, 2017 — It’s been a place for war demonstrations and peace rallies, freshman orientations and flying Frisbees, snowball fights, and pomp and circumstance. It’s where U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, comedian Bob Hope, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer, civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, and author Kurt Vonnegut among others received honorary degrees.
In the heart of the Kingston campus, the historic University of Rhode Island Quadrangle has provided a safe arrival and solid launching pad for the more than 120,000 alumni who have walked across its grassy expanse. The original campus-quarried granite buildings ringing the Quad formed what was then Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and helped shape the story of the institution.
So, it’s only fitting that the University launches its quasquicentennial anniversary and kicks off a yearlong celebration of the University’s founding in 1892 on the Quad Wednesday, Jan, 25 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
“As we celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff, and reflect on our rich history and traditions, we will also look at where we are heading for the next 125 years . . . and beyond,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “Our goal is to foster a broader and deeper understanding throughout the state and the region of our state flagship’s unique qualities and strengths. We’re excited to share our plans for even greater impact locally, nationally, and globally as an academic powerhouse, an engine of economic development, and a center of civic engagement.”
Following a brief speaking program at 4 p.m., faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends will join President Dooley in the official lighting of Davis Hall, perhaps the most recognizable building on the Quadrangle because of its castle-like appearance. Built in 1895 to replace the original 1891 College Hall, it was renamed in 1896 to honor Gov. John W. Davis, a prominent figure in Rhode Island at the time. The four–story building is known for its bell tower. A gift from the Class of 1900, Davis Hall bells originally rang to signal the time to eat, go to class, and attend chapel, and in 1945 signaled the official end of World War II.
Following the lighting, the Davis Hall bell will ring 12 times to mark the dozen decades of graduates who have walked across this ground.
The event will include a musical performance, hayrides, ice sculpting, the Ramettes, Rhody the Ram, cupcakes and cocoa, and more. For those who can’t be in Kingston, the festivities will be streamed live.
Joining President Dooley will be Bill Foulkes, chairman, Council on Postsecondary Education; Mark Conley, Faculty Senate vice chair; Student Senate President Cody Anderson ’17; URI alum Elizabeth Berman ’09, executive director of the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce; and student soloist Nicholas (Nick) Castro ’17, marine biology major/music minor, to perform URI’s Alma Mater.
“We plan to involve and engage current and prospective students, alumni, generous donors, faculty and staff, industry partners, global partners, community partners, government leaders, families and friends of the University near and far,” Dooley said. “There will be many occasions throughout the year – from academic symposia to magic shows to road races to WaterFire – to join together to celebrate URI today and its vision for the future.”
Established in 1892 as a land-grant college under the Second Morrill Act of 1889, the University of Rhode Island is Rhode Island’s only public research institution, with more than 14,600 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students, 700 faculty and 1,655 staff.