URI alumnus Mat Franco to discuss America’s Got Talent experience during Livestream interview, Aug. 13

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KINGSTON, R.I. – August 5, 2014 – You may have watched him wow the judges – and America – on the America’s Got Talent stage this season. Or maybe you’ve seen him perform at a University of Rhode Island freshman orientation session. Well, now, you can see URI alumnus and magician Mat Franco talk about his America’s Got Talent experience during a URI Livestream interview on Wednesday, Aug. 13 from noon to 12:30 p.m. He may even throw in a few tricks, too.


URI Assistant Director of Communications Dave Lavallee will moderate the discussion with questions submitted by viewers in the Livestream chat box. Viewers can also connect during the live interview via Twitter by tweeting their questions and comments with the hashtag #URIMatChat.


Franco recently flew through the America’s Got Talent “Judgment Week” rounds, making it to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall, after he impressed judges Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Mel B with a picture he “painted” of Mandel.


Check out the “Judgment Week” performance that put Franco into the America’s Got Talent live shows.


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 and now lives in Newport, 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.


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.”


Visit Facebook or Livestream for updates and more information, or contact social media coordinator Shelbey Bidell with any questions about this event at sbidell@uri.edu or 401-874-5190.