Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI senior from Warwick to speak at URI's 118th Commencement

Media Contact:

KINGSTON, R.I. --May 18, 2004 -- When Mary Earle was a freshman at the University of Rhode Island, she was unhappy and thought about transferring to another school.

The music education major has changed her tune. "URI is a fabulous institution. It has been such a great fit. I wouldnít have wanted it any other way," says the senior from Warwick who was just chosen as the student speaker for URI's 118th Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 23.

"As an orientation leader, I often tell my story to incoming freshmen. I tell them about my 180 degree turn."

Earleís resident assistant began the turn by pointing Earle in the right direction. The RA convinced her to become involved in some of the many activities URI had to offer and suggested that Earle become a resident assistant herself.

"From there it snowballed," says the 22-year-old who has been a resident assistant for the past three years. An orientation leader last year, she became orientation team leader this year.

She has also been a tour guide, showing prospective students and their parents the multiple facets of what the University has to offer. And she is also a Peer Advocate talking to other students about prevention of violence against women. Last year, she was a founding sister of the Zeta Epsilon Tau Alpha sorority, which is based on leadership and service.

Music, particularly jazz, has been the theme that has played throughout her life since she was introduced to the saxophone in seventh grade. Earle began playing the baritone saxophone at URI, an instrument that is nearly as big as she is. "Yes, Iím the music girl," she says. "Like many music majors here at URI, I just have a knack for it."

She plays in URI's Marching Band, Big Band, Concert Band, and in Jazz Combos and spends several hours every day, practicing or rehearsing. "Thereís a concert nearly every week," she says.

In addition to the saxophone, Earle plays the harp, piano, and numerous other instruments. "I learned to play wind, string, brass, and percussion instruments. I want to be sure to know how to play them so that I can teach them." Next fall, Earle will student teach in the West Warwick schools.

Right now, the URI senior is polishing her speech. "Iíve always played in the band for Commencement," she says. "This year, Iíll be on the platform giving a speech."