Judge Frank Caprio named URI’s Commencement speaker

Higher Ed. Chair strives to make education accessible, affordable

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 21, 2003 — Frank Caprio, one of the state’s best known judges and recently appointed chair of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education will speak at the University of Rhode Island’s main commencement on Sunday, May 18 at 12:30, on URI’s quadrangle.

“The University is proud to have Judge Frank Caprio as its commencement speaker,” said URI President Robert L. Carothers. “Judge Caprio is the embodiment of the American dream, a man who understood that education and hard work unlock the doors to success. Moreover, having succeeded as an individual, he turned his energies to helping others, especially the children of immigrants and minorities, find access to educational opportunities that would allow them to pass through those same doors. As chairman of our board, he doesnt just advocate for education, he acts on his deeply held convictions.”

Caprio’s parents immigrated to Providence from Italy in 1912 and sold fruit from a pushcart on Federal Hill. They instilled in their three sons the value of hard work, the importance of education, and a commitment to service.

Young Caprio earned money by shining shoes and washing dishes while attending Providence public schools. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Providence College, he taught American history and government at Hope High School, married and started a family, and attended the Suffolk University School of Law in Boston at night.

He began his legal career in 1965. Today he is senior partner at Caprio and Caprio, Providence, R.I. He has served as a Providence Municipal Court Judge since 1985. His court may be the most popular in Rhode Island due to the top-rated television show “Caught in Providence,” which is produced by the judge’s brother Joseph Caprio. The show has run on ABC 6 for the past three years and on cable access for the past eight years.

Caprio has established scholarships to benefit Rhode Island schoolchildren and named them in honor of his father, a man who had only a fifth grade education but, according to his son, had plenty of wisdom and perseverance.

The judge also volunteers his time and talents to Boys Town of Italy, the Nickerson House Juvenile Court, and the Federal Hill House.

Earlier this month, the University’s Multicultural Center presented the judge its “Lifetime Diversity Award” for his part in helping the concept of the Multicultural Center become a reality.

Appointed to the Board by Gov. Bruce Sundlun, re-appointed twice by Gov. Lincoln Almond, Caprio was named chairman by Gov. Donald Carcieri. The Board oversees URI, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island.

Caprio has served as chair of the Board’s Facilities Committee and most recently served as the Board’s vice chairman. As chair, he oversees a $585 million budget, including $165 million in tax dollars from the General Assembly.

Caprio lives with Joyce (Tibaldi) Caprio, his wife of 38 years. The couple has five children, including state Sen. Frank Caprio and state Rep. David Caprio.