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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI’s 121st commencement

Media Contact:


Answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions by media covering URI’s commencement weekend:


First, the basics:

Graduate Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, May 19, 2007, 1 p.m.
Ryan Center, Kingston Campus
• 755 graduate students
• 519 of the graduates are Rhode Islanders
• 2 honorary degree recipients

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
Sunday, May 20, 2007, 12:30 p.m.

Quadrangle (Rain site Ryan Center), Kingston Campus
• 2,528 undergraduates, 2 honorary degree recipients
• 1,513 of the undergraduates are Rhode Islanders!
• 86 of the students will earn 6-year pharmacy degree


1. Do I need a media pass?
Yes, for the undergraduate commencement on Sunday. The pass allows you access to podium guests, provides for seating at the press table, and access to any a/v hookups that may be needed for audio feed. To receive a pass, come to the Department of Communications/News Bureau office located at the URI Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road. We’re on the first floor, room 100D. In the event of rain, you can get the media pass in media room 117 of the Ryan Center.

2. Do I need a parking pass?
Yes, for the undergraduate commencement only. To receive a pass, contact Nancy Gillespie at the News Bureau office, 874-2116. Graduate exercises take place on Saturday in the Ryan Center, where parking is ample.

3. What happens if it rains on Sunday?
The ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center.

4. Is there any place to use a phone during Sunday’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies? You are welcome to use facilities in our office at 73 Upper College Road from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In the event of rain, you can use phones located in the Ryan Center’s media room. We will even have snacks for members of the hard working Fourth Estate.

5. How many students are graduating this year?
About 755 graduate students will receive degrees and approximately 2,528 undergraduate students (1,513 are Rhode Islanders) will receive degrees. Of those graduating, 86 students will receive a six-year pharmacy degree from our College of Pharmacy. Potential August 2007 graduates who have one or two courses to complete are included in the count.

6. Who is this year’s commencement speaker?
Former Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee will speak at the University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday. The ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. Dr. Joia Stapleton Mukherjee will speak at the graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m.

7. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?
Two people will receive honorary degrees during the undergraduate commencement ceremonies: Sen. Chafee will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and music supporter Sebastian Paul Musco will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree. Two people will receive honorary degrees at the graduate commencement ceremonies: Dr. Joia Murkerjee will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

8. Who is this year’s student commencement speaker? Allison Pirolli of Providence who will graduate with a degree in communication studies, will speak at the undergraduate commencement ceremonies.

9. Can I speak to the commencement speaker or to the honorary degree recipients?
Yes. Contact Jan Wenzel at the News Bureau in advance for details at 401-874-2116.

10. Are there any fast facts about this year’s graduates? • Of the students earning graduate degrees: 282 are males, 473 are females; • The oldest student is 77, the youngest is 23. Of the students earning undergraduate degrees: 1,068 are males, 1,460 are females • The oldest student is 68, the youngest is 21. • There are 10 sets of twins who will earn 20 undergraduate degrees!