URI Fall Welcome, 2019

With classes set to begin Sept. 4, the University is gearing up to welcome students and officially kickoff the 2019/2020 academic year

Media Contact: Tracey Manni, 401-874-2145 |

KINGSTON, R.I. — Aug. 26, 2019 — The University of Rhode Island stands ready to welcome the Class of 2023 to campus in two weeks—a first-year class made up largely of students born post-9/11.

They will join over 500 transfer students, more than 2,000 graduate students, a number of Finish What You Started students, thousands of returning URI students, and hundreds of students who will be concurrently enrolled in high school and at URI, to comprise a student body of approximately 17,000 when classes start on all of URI’s campuses Wednesday, Sept. 4.

The incoming class reflects the University’s competitiveness with an average grade point average of 3.51. The average SAT score came in at 1175 with the ACT score average at 25. Some 22,669 applicants, among the University’s highest applicant pools, competed for more than 3,200 first-year seats at URI this fall. Approximately 25 percent of the incoming class identified as students of color.

Campus Enhancements

Members of the Class of 2023 will be among the first to take classes and conduct research in The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, the gleaming and innovative hub of the University’s $150 million, cutting-edge engineering complex. Open to students for the first time at the start of the fall semester, the official ribbon-cutting is set for Oct. 7. Combined with extensive renovations to Bliss Hall expected to be completed in January 2020, the complex consists of more than 200,000 square feet of highly advanced teaching and learning spaces supporting students and faculty at URI.

Students will also take note of the new Brookside Apartments complex, expected to be completed in January 2020. It will be an option for juniors and seniors. The $94 million complex is made up of apartment suites of six and four single-occupancy bedrooms with a full kitchen and two bathrooms, as well as a café, and engaging and plentiful outdoor spaces.

Returning and incoming students will appreciate these additional campus improvements and others:

  • The continuation of the first phase of extensive renovation work on the Fine Arts Center on Upper College Road. The $12.4 million project includes removal of exterior stucco, a new masonry exterior for five of the building pods, new roofs, and replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. This work will be completed in spring 2020.
  • An overhauled and improved traffic flow and roadway at Fraternity Circle. This work will continue through the fall semester.
  • The continuation of work on a two-mile access to the eight-mile-long William C. O’Neill Bike Path, which will connect students from Kingston to Narragansett Town Beach. The project should be complete by the end of the fall semester.
  • And, the installation of new artificial turf and stadium lighting at Meade Stadium, where students will gather to help cheer on the URI Rams football team this fall. The first night game to be played at URI under permanent lights is scheduled for Sept. 7.

Academically Speaking

The University will host some lively discussions about religion as part of its 2019 Honors Colloquium: Religion in America, set to take place Tuesday evenings from Sept. 17 – Dec. 10 on the Kingston Campus. This colloquium, which is open and free to the public, will explore the diversity and ubiquity of faith in America, and the complex ways in which religion intersects with American culture. It will feature top expert presenters including Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at Pew Research Center, who will speak at the Sept. 17 series kickoff.

Incoming students will be the first enrolled in a number of new majors this year, including global language and area studies, sports media and communication, and biotechnology. The College of Arts and Sciences’ new music therapy undergraduate major, which was announced earlier this month, is now available to students applying to URI for admission next fall. The music and music therapy bachelor’s degree, a five-year, health-based degree program grounded in neuroscience research, will be the first of its kind at a public New England institution.

Newly added graduate certificate programs include a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate and a certificate in natural resources and the environment.

About Our Students

Much of this information is preliminary and reflects the students expected to enroll this upcoming semester. Official numbers are expected in October.

  • Incoming students will represent more than 40 states, territories and countries.
  • The first-year class is made up of approximately 57 percent women and 43 percent men, which is consistent with national enrollment figures.
  • Over 47 percent of new students hail from Rhode Island, with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey rounding out the top five states, respectively.
  • More than 5,700 students will reside in on-campus housing for the fall semester, a significant portion of whom will be first-year students. That number will increase by 500 when the new Brookside dorm opens in January.
  • Over 800 students will live in one of the 17 sororities, fraternities or specialty houses on campus, including two for International Engineering Program students and one located at the Women’s Center.
  • The most popular majors for the incoming class include computer science, criminology, business, engineering, kinesiology, biological science, and nursing.
  • URI will award more than $100 million in undergraduate financial aid and scholarships.

Save the Dates

Move-in dates: Saturday, Aug. 31 – Monday, Sept. 2. Specific dates and times are pre-assigned to students. Resident assistants will be on hand to welcome incoming freshmen to URI. More than 1,500 students participating in trainings, club events, etc., will move in the previous week. Welcome Week activities for new and returning students, some mandatory and others optional, will run from Aug. 28 – Sept. 3.

Distinguished Visiting Scholar: Thursday, Sept. 19. Joshua Cinner, professorial research fellow at Pew, is an accomplished scholar at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, headquartered at James Cook University in Australia. He will deliver a lecture focusing on systematically identifying and learning from coral reef outliers­—specific coral reef locations where ecosystems are substantially better (“bright spots”) or worse (“dark spots”) than expected­—given the environmental conditions and socioeconomic drivers to which they are exposed.

Honors Colloquium: Religion in America: Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m., Sept. 17 – Dec. 10.

Undergraduate Research Showcase: Wednesday, Sept. 25. Undergraduate research, scholarly and creative works will be on full display at this public event that typically features the work of more than 75 University students, split among morning and afternoon sessions and capped with an awards presentation.

Christiane Amanpour Lecture: Thursday, Sept. 26. Amanpour ’83, HON ‘95 will deliver her first lecture as part of the annual series she endowed at her alma mater in 2008, with the goal of bringing well-respected journalists to campus each year. Amanpour is the chief international anchor for CNN and host of CNN International’s nightly interview program “Amanpour.” A 1983 graduate of URI, she is also the host of “Amanpour & Company” on PBS. The winner of a Television Academy Award, 11 Emmys, four Peabody Awards, and nine honorary degrees—including one from URI in 1995—Amanpour will deliver a lecture entitled “Truthful, Not Neutral” at Edwards Auditorium. Tickets are required.

Harrington Broadcast Production Center Opening: Friday, Sept. 27. URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media will celebrate the opening of its Broadcast Production Center, following a $1.2 million renovation to the facility. Alumni Richard Harrington ’73, HON ’02 and Christiane Amanpour ’83, HON ’95 are expected to speak at the public opening.

Distinguished Achievement Awards: Saturday, Oct. 5. The Newport Marriott, Newport, Rhode Island, will be the site of the 14th Annual Distinguished Achievement Awards honoring alumni, corporations, and friends who personify URI’s tradition of excellence in professional achievement, leadership contributions, community service, and philanthropic endeavors. Tickets required.

The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering Ribbon-cutting: Monday, Oct. 7.

URI Theatre Season Kickoff: URI Theatre presents “A Brief History of Earth and Everything in It,” opening Oct. 10.

For more information on any of the events noted above, please visit uri.edu.