Fast Facts about URI’s 125th Commencement, May 21-22

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The Events: As many as 15,000 people are expected to gather in Kingston, R.I. on Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, to celebrate the achievements of the more than 3,283 undergraduate and 711 graduate students who will receive their degrees at the University of Rhode Island’s 125th Commencement. URI’s undergraduate Commencement is one of the largest single-day events held annually in Rhode Island. Here are a few facts about the Class of 2011 and the Commencement Ceremonies:

  • Rhode Islanders: About 61 percent (2,008) of the undergraduate and 68 percent (485) of the graduate degrees will be awarded to students who are from Rhode Island. The oldest undergraduate student is 81, and the youngest is 19; the oldest graduate student is 67 and the youngest is 21.
  • Men and Women: About 57 percent (1,858) of the students to receive undergraduate degrees are women and 43 percent (1,425) are men. Graduate degrees will be awarded to 63 percent (446) women and 37 percent (261) men.
  • Top Five: Rhode Island (2,008), Massachusetts (362), New Jersey (241), New York (227) and Connecticut (219) are the top five states URI undergraduate students call home.
  • Students Around the World: Students from 31 U.S. states and 10 countries will receive undergraduate degrees Sunday. There are students from 28 states and 16 countries receiving graduate degrees Saturday.
  • Seeing Double: This year’s graduating class includes six sets of twins, all of whom are undergraduates.
  • Undergraduate Commencement Speaker: Known for his innovative ideas and bold actions, Cory A. Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., will speak at the undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 22. In recognition of Mayor Booker’s unique contributions to his state and to the nation, he will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters.
  • Graduate Commencement Speaker: An internationally known oceanographer and climate

    change scientist, Margaret Leinen will speak at the graduate commencement ceremony on

    Saturday, May 21. Now the executive director of the Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch

    Oceanographic Institute, Leinen was once known fondly in Rhode Island as the “Dean of the

    Deep” when she served as dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

  • Honorary Degrees: In recognition of their unique contributions to the University, the people of the State of Rhode Island, and the nation, in addition to Mayor Booker, the University will confer honorary degrees upon:

    Victor Baxt, chairman of Teknor Apex Co.; Alan G. Hassenfeld, former chairman of the board

    and chief executive officer of Hasbro, Inc.; and Margaret Leinen, executive director of the

    Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

  • Student Speaker: The URI Student Employee Leadership Award winner, Valerie Damon-

    Leduc, was chosen to address her peers at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. The

    vivacious graduating senior majors in English and minors in communication studies and


  • Go Social: Students and families are invited to share their memories on Commencement Day by adding #uri2011 to your tweets and pictures so they’ll be easy to find in one place!