URI student commencement speaker turns initial anxiety into accomplishment

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 29, 2008 — When Gabriel “Gabe” Mancuso and his parents drove from their Edison, N.J. home to the University of Rhode Island’s campus for the first time, Gabe wondered if URI was the right place for him. He remembered looking out the car window during the last 10-mile stretch on Route 138 to campus and was hesitant, seeing only farms and cows.

He’s grateful he decided to stay in a rural setting. “URI has a beautiful campus, its close to the beaches, and is close to home,” he says, sounding like he’s majored in marketing instead of political science and economics.

Selected as this year’s student commencement speaker, he’ll get a chance to share his enthusiasm during the University’s Undergraduate Commencement exercises, Sunday, May 18.

Mancuso was a founding member and the outgoing president of the Pre-Law Society. He helped develop a volunteer peer tutoring program in conjunction with URI’s Academic Enhancement Center, a service previously unavailable in some political science courses. He also organized and helped moderate the first debate between College Democrats and College Republicans.

Active in the Student Senate, he chaired the bylaws committee, was vice-chair of the finance committee, an elected member of the rules and ethics committee, and served as liaison to the Faculty Senate where he ensured that the student body’s interests were represented during Faculty Senate meetings.

He was also a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and an Interfraternity Council representative. He helped developed a recruitment strategy, which attracted the largest class of new members for any Phi Kappa Psi chapter nationwide in 2004.

He ran for president of the Student Senate and lost. “I was beaten by a friend so it was bittersweet,” he says.

Gabe chose political science as a major after taking an introductory class, where he learned to take a point and prove it logically with research and good writing skills. He added an economics major because he says once you “get it” you can apply economics to everything.

His majors and his work in student groups will help him toward his eventual goal: law school. When asked if he has plans to run for public office he says with a half grin, “eventually, after I pay off my student loans.”

Pictured above

URI student commencement speaker,

Gabriel Mancuso, form Edison, N.J.

URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.