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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI's Facts about Fall 2008

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, RI -- August 28, 2008 -- Later this week, the University of Rhode Island will greet its largest freshman class, about 3,200 students, and welcome back its entire student body of nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Big events are planned for these students and the community this fall. Comedian Jay Leno is the featured guest at Family Weekend Nov. 1, the global environment will take center stage with the Honors Colloquium Sept. 9- Dec. 9, and all Rhode Islanders may learn steps to trim their energy costs and reduce their environmental impact at the R.I. Energy Expo, Nov. 16.

In addition to these activities, there are also improvements being made to facilities on the Kingston and Narragansett Bay campuses. Classes officially begin on Sept. 3.

About the Students*
• The University's Office of Admission received and reviewed more than 15,800 applications for enrollment, which represented a 10.5 percent increase from last year. There were also more than 1,400 transfer applications for admission. • About 3,207 freshmen have paid deposits for enrollment at the University this fall. This will be the University's largest freshman class ever. In addition, 481 transfer students have paid deposits.

• About 48 percent (1,539) of the freshman class are from Rhode Island. Consistent with trends nationwide, women make up about 57 percent of the class while men make up 43 percent.

• URI students come from about 47 states. After Rhode Island, the top states represented in the student body are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

• In total, about 13,400 undergraduates (including pharmacy and other professional degree-seeking students) and about 2,550 part- and full-time graduate students are attending URI this year. About 61 percent of all students are from Rhode Island, 39 percent are from out of state.

• Top 10 undergraduate majors are Nursing, Communication Studies, Psychology, Pharmacy, Physical Education, Human Development and Family Studies, English, and Secondary Education, Textile and Fashion Merchandising & Design, and Elementary Education.

• About 5,000 undergraduate students live in the 23 residence halls on campus and in on-campus apartments. Nearly 750 students live in the 17 sororities, fraternities and specialty houses on campus.

*Figures are as of August 20, 2008. Final enrollment numbers will be available in late October.

Fall Highlights

• Sept. 9, Honors Colloquium Opens: The University's fall honors colloquium will explore the activities of humans that are transforming the world at an extraordinary rate. The series, "People and Planet: Global Environmental Change," will consider human-caused global change, its consequences, and possible responses, through lectures, films, and panel discussions. A complete schedule of the colloquium can be found online at www.uri.edu/hc.

• Sept. 14, Chinese Moon Festival: The URI Confucius Institute will hold its annual signature event of the Chinese Moon Festival on Sept. 14, 6-8 p.m. at the Memorial Union. It is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar.

• Sept. 17, URI Citizenship Day: In conjunction with the national citizenship day, the University will hold URI Day, a "Service to the University" day as an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members to participate together in service, education and outreach.

• Sept. 22-26, 12th Annual Diversity Week: Last year's Diversity week drew 3,800 people to a host of different activities. The week will be filled with arts, music, dance, film and other activities and features such crowd-pleasing favorites as the poetry slam, the diversity video and film festival, the Pangaea Roots Music Series, dozens of workshops and more. Most events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule visit www.uri.edu/mcc.

• Oct. 8, Lippitt Hall: Ribbon cutting. See Construction Zone below.

• URI Open House: Thousands of high school seniors and their families will attend one of the University's Open Houses Oct. 25, Nov. 7 and Nov. 8. The programs provide potential students with a chance to learn about the admission process, financial aid, scholarships and more. Visitors can register for the program at www.uri.edu/admissions.

• Oct. 9, URI Theatre: The 2008 theater season begins with the award-winning play, Small Tragedy by Craig Lucas, and ends the first part of the season with the classic musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

• Oct. 17-19, Homecoming 2008: The homecoming tradition continues with alcohol-free festivities at the University's Kingston Campus that include reunions, college- and department-based gatherings, a 5K race to benefit URI student scholarships, music, food, entertainment and more. The URI-Villanova game starts at noon on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Meade Stadium. That evening, the 3rd annual URI Distinguished Achievement Awards celebration will be held www.advance.uri.edu/alumni/events/homecoming.

• Oct. 18, Distinguished Achievement celebrated: The University will celebrate the third annual URI Distinguished Achievement Awards. Four alumni who are making a big difference in the world will receive the president's awards. The 2008 award winners are John King '85, CNN chief national correspondent; William Flynn '75 president and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings; Clarice Odhiambo '88, founder of Africa Center for Engineering Social Solutions; and Bruce Sherman '69, CEO and chief investment officer of Private Capital Management. The celebration will be held at the Providence Westin Hotel.

• Oct. 31- Nov. 2, Family Weekend: This year, comedian Jay Leno will perform at the Ryan Center as part of the weekend events. Families of undergraduate students have the chance to participate in numerous activities including attending classes with their student, touring area hot spots, learning about programs on the Kingston and Narragansett Bay campuses, attending a football game and more. Visit http://www.uri.edu/familyweekend.

• Nov. 16, R.I. Energy Expo: As Rhode Islanders head into the heating season, the University will host the 2008 Rhode Island Energy Expo to offer innovative and practical strategies to help individuals and businesses deal with rising energy costs. The Expo will be held Sunday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ryan Center on the University's Kingston Campus.

Construction Zone

Close to $200 million in construction projects at the Kingston and Narragansett Bay campuses are about to be completed or are in the planning stages. Highlights include everything from the restoration of one of the University's oldest buildings and opening of the first major component of a new health and life sciences district on the Kingston Campus to the start of a $1.4 million upgrade to the baseball field and planning for the new student Wellness and Fitness Center. Here's a brief list of what's been building:

• A renewed Lippitt Hall re-opens: A ribbon-cutting will be held Oct. 8 to celebrate the re-opening of Lippitt Hall, one of the University of Rhode Island’s oldest buildings. Lippitt underwent an $8.9 million, basement-to-roof renovation and now includes wireless technology and has the latest teaching tools in its seminar and classrooms. This historic structure will once again be home to the URI Honors Program, and it will be the new home of the College of Arts and Sciences Mathematics Department.

• New center for biotechnology: The cornerstone of the University's new Health and Life Sciences District, the $54 million Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, is nearing completion. A Jan. 20, 2009 ribbon cutting is planned for the 138,000 square-foot building that will be the hub of cutting-edge research and education for undergraduate and graduate students. Work to be done in the advanced research laboratories will include research into bio-fuel development, insect-borne diseases, drought- and disease resistant plants, genetics and turf grass development.

• Pell Library/Ocean Exploration and Research Center: Construction is under way on the $15 million ocean exploration center and expansion of the Pell Marine Science Library on the Narragansett Bay Campus. The centerpiece of the 41,000 square-foot building will be the Inner Space Center, led by Robert Ballard for URI's Institute of Archaeological Oceanography. The Center will use the most advanced communication technology, including satellite and Internet2, so that URI scientists and students can participate virtually in ocean-going research expeditions without leaving campus. The project is being funded by $14 million in state bonds approved by Rhode Island voters in 2004 and more than $1 million in private donations.

• Independence Square Expansion: URI's Kinesiology Department will be moving when an $8 million addition to the Independence Square facility is completed. With greater space demands for its sports medicine operations, this fast-growing undergraduate degree program will join the Physical Therapy graduate program already housed there. Plans call for the department to move from its current location at 210 Flagg Road during winter break. This program has had a 40 percent jump in enrollment in the last four years, fueled primarily by an increasing interest in a wide range of health careers.

• Play Ball: With generous support from an anonymous donor, URI's baseball team will step onto a new field next spring. The $1.4 million renovation project will begin on Oct. 1 and be complete for the '09 season. Facility improvements include installation of a synthetic surface in the infield and outfield, new fencing, new bullpens and space for new bleachers.

• On the horizon: During the spring semester, groundbreaking will be held for the second major part of the Health and Life Sciences District, the new $70 million College of Pharmacy building. Design work and fundraising will continue for the $5.9 million renovation and conversion of the former Roger Williams Dining Center into the Student Wellness and Fitness Center, and planning has begun for a $40 million project to build a 350-bed residence hall at the site of the Terrace Apartments on the Kingston Campus.