Nov. 12 URI Honors Colloquium to focus on state of Rhode Island Students

KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 6, 2013 – A University of Rhode Island professor of political science and radio and television commentator will moderate a panel discussion on The State of Our Rhode Island Students, with leaders from Rhode Island Kids Count, the Economic Progress Institute, and those representing veterans in higher education and an alternative school in Boston.

The discussion, to be moderated by Professor Maureen Moakley, is part of the annual Honors Colloquium, titled, Great Public Schools: Everyone’s Right? Everyone’s Responsibility? The discussion will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Edwards Hall Auditorium, 64 Upper College Road, Kingston Campus.

Note to media, for most of our lectures, speakers will be available from 3:30 to 5 p.m. for interviews. To make arrangements, please contact Dave Lavallee, URI Marketing and Communications, 401-874-5862.

Moakley and panel members will assess the state of Rhode Island students and debate key issues central to understanding the future of public schools and higher education in the state of Rhode Island.

The members of the panel are:

Elizabeth Burke Bryant, executive director of Rhode Island Kids Count, a native of Providence, and graduate of the University of Vermont who later earned her law degree at George Washington University. Rhode Island Kids Count is an organization dedicated to improving the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children. She is actively involved in several community organizations, including the United Way of Rhode Island and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Linda Katz, co-founder and policy director, and Kate Brewster, executive director, from the Economic Progress Institute, a nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to improving the economic well being of low and modest income Rhode Islanders. Katz is responsible for legislative and policy analysis and advocacy on a range of public benefits and programs, including: welfare, health care, childcare, and employment and training. She is the chair of the statewide RI Works Advisory Committee, Rite Care Consumer Advisory Council, and was one of nine public members appointed to the state’s Health Insurance Exchange. Brewster, who earned a bachelor’s degree from URI in sociology, is responsible for the overall management of the organization, including fund development, planning and evaluation, fiscal management, and public policy analysis and advocacy. She has experience in social policy and case management.

Anthony Paolino, an aviation specialist with the Rhode Island Air National Guard and founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Military Organization, will speak about veterans in higher education. His organization assists veterans, guardsmen, and reservists in their transition to academic life and accepts them as vital members of the campus community. During his time of service, Paolino has earned more than 20 medals and accommodations including the Air Force Commendation medal during a deployment to Kuwait and two Air Force Achievement medals. He is currently in the process of commissioning in the US Air Force to complete his remaining time in service as an officer and his future plans include graduate study at the University of Rhode Island in the Masters of Public Administration Degree.

William Henderson, Jr. the visually impaired principal and co-founder of Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School in Boston, works to overcome the many barriers to equal opportunity that disabled children encounter in, and beyond, the educational system. At this nationally-recognized school, attended by students with a wide array of ethnic, linguistic, mental, physical, and socio-economic concerns, Henderson encourages teachers to use accelerated learning techniques and multi-sensory approaches to help all students meet primary literacy standards. His many publications, frequent presentations, and numerous distinguished service point to Dr. Henderson’s effective educational practices.

The public is invited to attend this series of free events in person or online. Those unable to attend the lecture can watch live online at URI Live!

The program is supported by:

Major Sponsor: URI Honors Program

Sponsors: URI Office of the President; URI Office of the Provost; The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment; The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment, as well as the following URI colleges, departments and offices, College of Human Science and Services, Talent Development, Multicultural Center, University College, WRIU’s The Beauty Salon, College of Arts and Sciences, The Harrington School of Communications and Media, John Hazen White, Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, Department of Gender and Women Studies, College of Pharmacy, College of Engineering, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, College of Business Administration, College of Nursing, Division of Student Affairs, Department of Marketing and Communications, Department of Publications and Creative Services, and Instructional Technology and Media Services. Rhode Island Public Radio is also a sponsor.

For more information on colloquium events contact Deborah Gardiner at 401.874.2381 or

For information about ways to support the Honors Colloquium, contact URI Professor Lynne Derbyshire, Honors Program director, at 401.874. 4732. If you have a disability and need an accommodation, please call 401.874.2303 at least three business days in advance.

For TTY assistance, please call the R.I. Relay Service at 800.745.5555.

This release was written by Caitlin Musselman and Sabrina Galiney, URI Marketing and Communications interns.