What an incredible year! It’s hard to believe that just last August, hundreds of members of the URI community came out to warmly welcome Mary and me to campus. Since then, I have met hundreds more, from staff and students to farmers, football players, community partners, and alumni. I have relished this deep dive into our vibrant University community. This July, Mary and I took a step back (or rather up and down), hiking the Appalachian Trail across Maine and reflecting on the experiences we have had. The breathtaking view from Mount Katahdin was a fitting “big picture” end to our first year at URI.
In many ways, this past year has felt like scaling an enormous mountain, full of challenges and surprises but rich in opportunities and rewards, and I now have a clearer view of where we are and where we are going. Meaningful alumni gatherings from Florida to Providence to New York have shed light on who we are and encouraged me to set goals for who we want to be. Important conversations with our multicultural student groups, meetings with our LGBTQ+ community, and renewed dialogue with the Narragansett Tribe have reminded me that although we have come so far, we still have important work to do. And tours of some of our beautiful new facilities juxtaposed with outdated and declining buildings that house multimillion dollar programs have motivated me to pursue investments that will propel the University into this next phase of transformation. Stakeholders across our campuses helped us develop a 10-year strategic plan that will position URI as a hub that flourishes with activity and innovation, driving economic growth for Rhode Island and the region, and capitalizing on our role as the state’s flagship research university.
One only needs to look at the features in this issue of the magazine to know that the future of URI is bright. In “Where Using the Coast and Preserving It Find Common Ground,” we learn about the Coastal Resources Center on our Bay Campus, which brings coastal communities in Rhode Island and around the world together to create and manage sustainable relationships with their coastlines.
“A Walk Through Time” highlights an important new multidisciplinary undergraduate course that offers students opportunities to discover a more complete history of the Narragansett ancestral land on which the Kingston Campus sits. There’s “Thinking Blue,” which offers an introduction to the blue economy and the importance of the ocean and its resources to Rhode Islanders. We also get to know Sara Sweetman, Ph.D. ’13, associate professor of education, whose expertise and love of learning led her all the way to Sesame Street. And finally, we learn about Erik Robles ’22, a philosophy major and one of the first three recipients of the Gamm Theatre’s new emerging artists of color fellowship, who came to URI to tackle life’s big questions.
It’s an exciting time at URI, and I am so glad to be here with you!
Marc B. Parlange
President, University of Rhode Island
Aflame, 2011 Oil on canvas, 36” x 36”
Ewa Romaszewicz is an instructor in URI’s Department of Art and Art History. She completed Aflame at a time of dramatic personal transition, and says that in the painting, “one can see the visual transition from darkness to light,” but that for her, it was “also a metaphorical transition.” She notes, “What the viewer brings to the painting is as important as what my thoughts were in creating it.”
After completing undergraduate work at Brown University in art and biochemistry, Romaszewicz worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a protein chemist. At the same time, she was completing her M.F.A. in painting at Indiana University, where she was teaching chemistry labs and color theory and design courses.
Romaszewicz says, “I use the landscape as a means to explore composition, color, light, mood, and emotion. Ultimately, my landscapes are metaphors for universal experiences and feelings.”
To see more of Romaszewicz’s work, go to ewastudio.com.
As a Brown ’61 alumni and president of Narrow River Preservation Association for 30
of the past 50 years as a board member, I see a stronger tie with URI would be to
both our advantage. I am working with URI indirectly about the transportation hub
at URI. The honors class featured Narrow River Watershed in this past year’s
class. Several board members of NRPA are employees for URI. I was a leading
packaging designer for New Territories, formerly founder of R. B. Grant % Associaltes
and kicked off the art game with creating the position of Art Director of Arkwright
Interlaken and a owner of the Cambridge Paper Box Company in the early years. I
lived in Kingston since 1968 mainly on Lower College where I had a studio and office
in which I produced mic-A-rt. With that said I wish you success and just maybe
we can put an environmentally based silent auction together to raise money and
prestige of the campuses of URI.
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