KINGSTON, R.I. – May 13, 2011 – During his senior year of high school, Kevin Colman was determined to make his own way when it came time to choose a college. His three older siblings had all earned degrees from the University of Rhode Island.
“My thought was that I was going to do something different. I wanted to go somewhere else,” said Colman, a Cranston native earning a double major in communications and public relations. “My sister was the one who convinced me that URI was this amazing place.”
Mary Colman gave Kevin an inside look at URI. He didn’t take a regular tour of the campus, but rather a behind-the-scenes look that helped him realize he could still create a unique experience for himself while staying close to home.
“She brought me around the campus and really showed me the school. After that, I saw the leadership in her and saw how much she had grown here,” Colman said. “She really inspired me in that way. After that, I knew this was the place for me, and I really wanted to go here.”
The decision to follow siblings Erin, Brendan and Mary to URI certainly paid dividends for Colman. Over the last four years, he has been a member of the Student Alumni Association and started the URI chapter of Student United Way after a community service trip to Biloxi, Miss. during his sophomore year.
He also got involved with URI’s Catholic Center and the Newman Club, joining members on service trips to Nicaragua, where he helped build a new orphanage for disabled and abandoned children in Diriamba. The orphanage is run by Mustard Seed, a Roman Catholic organization dedicated to caring, sharing and training, and lifting the most vulnerable members of society, especially handicapped and abandoned children, and marginalized communities.
“I’m very religious, and I love doing community service, so it’s something that combined two of my biggest passions,” said Colman, an extraordinary minister of the Eucharistic at Christ the King Roman Catholic Parish in Kingston. “It really centered my faith and centered my life, which allowed me to grow as a person.
“To go to Nicaragua the first year, not knowing what to expect, and then going down there the second year to see the progress that was made at the orphanage was amazing. It’s been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. It’s unbelievable because it is so eye-opening. At the same time, it’s really refreshing to separate yourself from your own world in order to do something to help the kids.”
Community service is clearly a driving force for Colman, who spent the spring semester interning with Pawtucket-based toy giant Hasbro, Inc. in the community relations department. He’ll stay with Hasbro through the summer before spending a year doing service work, hopefully through AmeriCorps.
“URI has helped me develop that high-energy personality and that willingness to go out and try new things,” Colman said.
URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.