The fall semester—and the fall issue of the University of Rhode Island Magazine—bring energy, inspiration, and a sense of possibility.
Another academic year is well underway, and our campuses are energized by new community members, new programs and initiatives, new seasons for athletics and the arts, and a sense of possibility that only the start of a new year can bring. I enjoyed meeting students and parents on a successful move-in day, welcoming international students, staff, and faculty on our lawn, celebrating with the community during Quad Fest, and cheering for our Rhody Rams in our first-ever Friday night home football game. Labs and lecture halls are alive with conversation, research, and innovation, and I continue to be inspired by the ingenuity and generosity of our community.
This new academic year has also been marked by incredible achievements, most notably a significant increase in state investment in URI—the state’s flagship research university. Together—students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, and friends—we are successfully telling the story about the incredible work we do at URI, creating momentum and positioning the University as a driving force for economic growth and positive social, cultural, and environmental change. I believe that an investment in URI is an investment in the people, places, and programs that will have a powerful impact on the state, the region, and the world. We are Rhode Island’s university, and in the coming months, we will build on this momentum, generating new revenue, supporting efforts that enhance our research enterprise, and fostering opportunities for growth in all areas of the University.
The people and programs highlighted in this issue tell the URI story.
“Below Broadway: Pit Musicians in the Spotlight” focuses on two accomplished URI musicians who make their living in the orchestra pits of Broadway’s theaters. They credit URI for instilling in them important aspects of their musicality and professionalism, and URI music faculty recall that, as students, the two had “similar gumption.”
“An Ocean of Data” documents the forward-thinking work of Lauren Decker, M.S. ’09, a Yup’ik Alaska native and the chief scientific officer for PolArctic, an ocean and data science company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help businesses in the Arctic operate safely, profitably, and sustainably.
In “Bacteria and Algae and Toxins—Oh My” you will meet two URI pharmacologists whose marine and freshwater research is supporting the blue economy by helping aquaculture systems avoid toxic disease. They are also researching new pharmaceutic uses for bacteria and algae.
And as the College of Business celebrates 100 years of leading education and research, “Business for the Next Century” outlines the college’s focus on the future and on preparing students to make decisions and drive innovation in an unpredictable, ever-changing world.
I am inspired by the stories, the season, and a renewed sense of purpose and focus for the year—I hope you are, too.
Marc B. Parlange
President, University of Rhode Island