URI, RIPTA partner to create a greener commencement

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Ceremonies to be televised, broadcast, webcast

KINGSTON, R.I. — May 13, 2009 – In an effort to make its commencement green and to integrate green practices into its ceremonies, the University of Rhode Island has joined forces with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to offer FREE rides on its Route 66 buses to its undergraduate ceremonies on the Kingston campus this upcoming Sunday, May 17. Buses will depart from the south from Galilee, Salt Pond Plaza, Wakefield Mall and from the north from Kennedy Plaza in Providence, Routes 2 and 4 Park and Ride and Routes 2 and 102 Park and Ride, both in North Kingstown. Individuals will be dropped off at URI’s Memorial Union bus circle and may walk to commencement ceremonies at the University’s quadrangle or transfer to other on-campus commencement shuttles to other destinations on campus. Download a full schedule of buses and times at www.uri.edu/commencement/ripta.pdf.

“Every year our 70-plus member commencement committee members search for ways we can enhance the commencement experience for our graduates, their families, and our community. Last year, Donald DeHayes, provost and vice president of academic affairs, suggested we go green in future commencements. This is our first step. We applaud our provost for making our carbon footprint a little smaller this year,” says Michelle Curreri, assistant to the president and chair of the commencement committee.

People interested in watching the University of Rhode Island’s undergraduate commencement ceremony can do so from the comfort of their living room couch again this year.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS will broadcast the University’s undergraduate ceremony Sunday, May 17 live from the Kingston campus beginning at 12:30 p.m. It can be viewed on digital 36.1, Cox/Verizon/Full Channel 8, DirecTV 36, and Dish 7776.

Listeners also have the option to tune their radio dial to WRIU, 90.3 FM to hear the excitement.

People living inside or outside the state, can catch the action by simply turning on their computer. The ceremony will be webcast live. For details, go to www.uri.edu/commencement. The link will remain active for several weeks.

Barbara Meagher of Johnston, URI assistant professor of journalism and a 21-year veteran as a television news reporter, will co-host a pre-commencement show with M. Beverly Swan of Wakefield, URI’s popular retired provost and vice president of academic affairs from the University’s quadrangle, providing commentary and live interviews beginning at 12:30 p.m. Dave Lavallee of Wakefield, assistant director of URI’s Department of Communications and Marketing will provide commentary from the commencement “field.’

Meagher got her start in television news at WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh, N.Y. From 1983 to 2001, she became a recognizable Rhode Island personality as a news reporter and substitute anchor for ABC6 in Providence. She is a founding member and current president of ACCESS/RI—a coalition of organizations and interested individuals who are working to ensure that public records and public meetings remain open and accessible to the public.

M. Beverly Swan stepped down last year as URI’s provost and vice president for academic affairs after serving 17 years in that post. She was a commencement mainstay, handing out citations and honorary degrees with President Robert L. Carothers.

Swan’s nearly four-decade association with the University began as a student. When Independence Hall (now re-named in her honor) opened, she took many of her classes in the building. Later, she joined URI’s English Department faculty, teaching courses in writing and linguistics. Before being named provost, Swan served as assistant vice president for academic affairs for nine years. She has been an important donor to her alma mater, creating several scholarships herself and supporting many others.

Lavallee, who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from URI in 1979, was a newspaper reporter for 13 years before joining URI in 1994. He was a reporter and photographer at The Manchester Evening Herald in Connecticut and The Woonsocket Call. After earning his master’s degree at URI in 1987, he worked at The Newport Daily News as a reporter, editor and photographer where he was honored by the Associated Press and Rhode Island Press Association for breaking news coverage and news analysis. He has co-hosted the commencement show for 4 years.

In case of rain, the ceremonies will be broadcast from the Ryan Center.