URI students receive excellence awards from history department

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KINGSTON, R.I. – June 3, 2015 – The history department in the University of Rhode Island’s College of Arts and Sciences held an awards ceremony last month to honor students who have demonstrated excellence in the discipline.


Clay Pell, the grandson of the late U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, attended the ceremony to present the Pell Medal to Rebecca Giguere of North Smithfield for outstanding achievement in United States history by a senior history major.

“We are excited that Mr. Pell was able to join us and express his family’s longstanding support for the study of history as an essential part of any college education,” said Robert W. Widell, Jr., associate professor of history, who organized the event. “The History Department’s annual awards ceremony is an opportunity for the faculty to recognize the outstanding work, including original research, that is being done by students in history classes at URI.”


As part of the ceremony, 17 new members were initiated into Phi Alpha Theta, The National History Honor Society. Nine History majors, including Giguere, were then presented with excellence awards.


• Ashley Gemma of Lincoln, received the University Academic Excellence Award for outstanding achievement in history by a senior history major at Kingston.


• Melissa Foley of Warwick, received the University Academic Excellence Award for outstanding achievement in history by a senior history major at URI’s Feinstein Providence Campus.


• Megan Medeiros of Johnston, received the Metz Prize for outstanding achievement in history by a senior history major.


Jacob Marrocco of Warwick, received the Margaret Thomas Phi Alpha Theta Award for outstanding achievement by a junior history major.


• Terrie David of West Warwick, Andre Guilbert of Burrillville, Erin Leonard of Westford, Mass., and Ana Opishinski of East Greenwich, received the department book prizes for Excellence in History.


Pictured Above


Front row from left:

Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Megan Medeiros of Johnston, Ashley Gemma of Lincoln, Carolina Zappala of Andover, Mass., Rebecca Giguere of North Smithfield, Terrie David of West Warwick.

Back Row:

Clay Pell, Jacob Marrocco of Warwick, Erin Leonard of Westford, Mass., Andre Guilbert of Burrillville, Chris Zitz of East Meadow, N.Y., Thomas Porter of Glocester, and history Professor Timothy George


Warwick’s Jacob Marrocco is presented his award from history lecturer James Ward.


Lincoln’s Ashley Gemma is presented an award from history Professor Joelle Rollo-Koster.


Clay Pell presents the Pell Award to Rebecca Giguere of North Smithfield.


Photos by Mike Salerno Photography


This release was written by Caitlin Musselman, a URI Marketing and Communications intern and a public relations and political science major.