URI alumnus Mat Franco ready to wow America’s Got Talent again

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Hopes to impress Heidi, Howard, Howie and Mel B Tuesday, June 22

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 21, 2014 – University of Rhode Island alumnus Mat Franco had the judges and audience jumping out of their seats with applause when he auditioned last month for America’s Got Talent.


The Newport magician and 2010 URI graduate will again try to win four yes votes from the judges when his second performance on America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday, July 22 at 9 p.m. on WJAR, NBC 10.


This week’s segments, part of “Judgment Week” and taped in New York City, will decide whether Mat and his fellow competitors will move on to the live rounds at Radio City Music Hall.


During his last performance on June 17, Franco earned a standing ovation from judges Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Mel B and thousands in the audience.


Check out Mat in the preview video for Judgment Week.


Named 2013’s Best Male Performer by Campus Activities Magazine, Franco has been astonishing freshman orientation audiences at URI’s Kingston campus since he was a student. Most shows end with standing ovations. Franco, who grew up in Johnston, completed a full slate of shows for this year’s URI orientation program, which ran through the end of June.


Franco, who majored in marketing at URI’s College of Business Administration, began performing when he was 4 years old.


Franco said without URI, his career never would have developed.


“It wouldn’t have even been a possibility without the business education I received at URI,” Franco said. “I had to learn the business side of things to maintain my magic habit. When I started, people learned about me through word-of-mouth, and I handed out business cards. But the marketing program at URI was just fantastic, and it gave me a perspective on things and where I could go as an entrepreneur.”


But outside the classroom, he learned people skills. “I was a URI freshman orientation leader for two years, and then as a junior I was a program assistant. Then, as a senior, I was a student co-coordinator for the entire program. This was the most rewarding experience where I learned a lot about other people and myself.”