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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI’s 123rd commencement- Answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions

Media Contact:

May 7, 2009

First, the basics:
Graduate Commencement Ceremony
Saturday, May 16, 2009, 1 p.m.
Ryan Center, Kingston Campus

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
Sunday, May 17, 2009, 12:30 p.m.
Quadrangle (Rain site Ryan Center)
Kingston Campus

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 and Marketing located at the URI Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road. We’re on the first floor, room 100D.

2. Where do I park?
Undergraduate Ceremony Parking: Enter the University on Upper College Road from Route 138. Turn right at first stop sign onto Briar Lane. Turn left into the parking lot after the campus police station. The lot is closest to our office the Alumni Center (natural shingled) and just a short walk to the undergraduate commencement exercises on the quadrangle.
Graduate Ceremony Parking: Ceremony will be held in the Ryan Center. Use any nearby parking lot.

3. What happens if it rains Sunday?
In the event of rain, the main commencement ceremony will be held at the Ryan Center. If the rain plan is implemented, the decision will be made in the early morning and information will be posted on the URI homepage, www.uri.edu, and a message will be placed on our automated phone lines (401.874.7669, and 874.1000). Members of the media should go to the Ryan Center's media room (room 117, first left after entering the Center via the North Lobby) to receive a media pass and seating instructions. If you have any questions, you can reach the Department of Communications and Marketing staff that day by calling 401.874.5426 or 401.714-6595.

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 have snacks for members of the hard working Fourth Estate at either location.

5. How many students are graduating this year?
A total of about 3,419 students, including undergraduates and graduates.
Here’s the breakdown:
Graduate Degrees: About 657 students. 487 are from Rhode Island.
Undergraduate Degrees: About 2,762 students. 1,721 are from Rhode Island.


6. Who is this year’s commencement speaker?
URI President Robert L. Carothers, who will step down at the end of June, will speak at the University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Sunday. The ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. URI 1985 alumnus William J. Brennan who has had a long and distinguished career in marine and environmental policy at the state, national, and international levels will speak at the graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m.

7. Who will receive honorary degrees this year?
Three people will receive honorary degrees commencement weekend:
José Maria Neves, prime minister of the Republic of Cape Verde and retired educator and legislator Charles D. Walton will each receive an honorary Doctor of Laws at the undergraduate ceremonies. Brennan will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the graduate commencement.

8. Who is this year’s student commencement speaker? Andrew Blais of West Kingston who will graduate with degrees in political science and journalism. He 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, Department of Communication and Marketing at 401-874-2116 or wenzel@advance.uri.edu.

10. Are there any fast facts about this year’s graduates?
Of the students earning graduate degrees: 265 are men, 392 are women; the oldest student is 66, the youngest is 21. Of the students earning undergraduate degrees: 1,100 are men, 1,662 are women, the oldest student is 67, and the youngest is 18. There are seven sets of twins who will earn 14 degrees!