URI’s Fall Welcome, 2021-2022

The University of Rhode Island and its new president are set to welcome the Class of 2025 and thousands of returning students to campus over the next week.  Classes officially begin at the state’s flagship public university Sept. 8.

KINGSTON, R.I. – Sept. 1, 2021 – The 2021-2022 academic year kicks off at the University of Rhode Island with what is expected to be a “near normal” fall semester that will include mostly in-person classes, and scheduled, in-person athletic, academic, and cultural events, though some COVID-19-related policies will be in place to protect the health of the University community. In advance of the Sept. 8 start of classes, move-in days begin today, Sept. 1 and run through Saturday, Sept. 4. Newly arrived URI President Marc Parlange will pop in at various times during move-in. 

Incoming first-year students and all returning students were required to submit proof of vaccination, or have an approved University exemption, before coming to campus to protect the community against spread of COVID-19. Also implemented recently is a universal mask-wearing policy requiring  students, faculty, and staff to wear masks in indoor spaces on campus where people gather, including classrooms, laboratories, dining, and residential facilities.

Students making up the Class of 2025 come to URI after at least three semesters of high school undertaken in uncertainty due to the pandemic. First-year students were selected from a record-setting 25,107 applications received.

These students will join approximately 500 transfer students, more than 2,000 graduate students, a number of Finish What You Started students, thousands of returning URI students, and hundreds of students who will be concurrently enrolled in high school and at URI, to comprise a student body of approximately 17,000 when classes start on Sept. 8.

Orientation events for new students will take place as part of O-Week during the week leading up to the start of classes. Events are intended to increase student engagement, and to familiarize students with campus, the URI community, and resources for student success. In addition, a New Student Welcome event will take place Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. on the URI Quadrangle. This new tradition will begin with a student procession and will feature music, food, and an official welcome from President Marc Parlange and other University leaders. 

New Campus Enhancements

  • New and returning students will note the continuing $2 million upgrade to Upper College Road, the University’s historic main thoroughfare, meant to improve its appearance, while emphasizing safety for cyclists and pedestrians. The project will include the addition of new bike lanes to a newly paved road, which will also feature wider sidewalks, granite curbing and new lighting. Speed tables and new crosswalks will be added, as will new wayfinding signs and security and parking system technologies.
  • Ranger Hall, built in 1914 and home to the Harrington School of Communication and Media, is in the midst of a second phase of building renovations. The recently begun $8 million, 20,000-square-foot project involves interior renovations and upgrades to the second, third, and fourth floors, complementing work done as part of Phase 1 renovations completed in 2017. Expected to be completed for the fall of 2022, the project includes new general and active learning classrooms, computer labs, video and audio editing suites, and film production and screening rooms. The new space at Ranger Hall will also become the new location for the Harrington School offices currently housed in Davis Hall.

Academically Speaking

  • Three new deans will be a part of the campus community this academic year. Beginning Jan. 1, Anthony J. Marchese, Ph.D., will serve as dean of the College of Engineering which includes 1,600 undergraduate and 200 graduate students.  Marchese, who comes to URI from Colorado State University, will succeed Raymond Wright who led the College for 14 years as dean. Brenton DeBoef, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, has been named dean of the University’s Graduate School, a post he’s held on an interim basis since July 2020. And, Danielle Dennis, director of the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education, was recently named interim dean of the University’s Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies.
  • URI’s annual Honors Colloquium will this year focus on scientific initiatives needed to ensure sustainable use of ocean resources and long-term ocean health, as outlined in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Entitled, “Sustaining our Shores,” the colloquium will feature free, open-to-the-public, weekly academic discussions and guest speakers from September  through December. 
  • The 2021 Christiane Amanpour Lecture, set to take place Nov. 10, will feature Abby Phillip, CNN anchor and senior political correspondent. The annual lecture was established through an endowment that alumnus and CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour established at URI to bring respected journalists to campus each year.
  • More than a dozen international experts in the growing field of quantum information science will participate in a URI-hosted Frontiers in Quantum Computing conference Oct. 18–20 on the Kingston Campus. United States Senator Jack Reed and more than a dozen experts are scheduled to speak.
  • URI’s STEEP (Sources, Transport, Exposure, and Effects of PFAS) Program will host an international conference dedicated to sharing the latest science on PFAS, “silent” and dangerous chemicals often present in common household goods. FLOUROS Global 2021 will take place Oct. 3–7 at the WaterFire Fine Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

About Our Students

NOTE: Much of this information is preliminary and reflects the students expected at URI for the soon-to-begin semester. Official enrollment numbers are expected in October.

  • Nearly 5,700 students will live in 27 on-campus residences this fall, including 17 Living and Learning Communities. In addition, approximately 650 students will reside in 15 fraternity/sorority houses on campus, and another 75 will live in designated International Engineering Program housing.
  • Approximately 3,780 first-year (including 500 transfer students) students will major in some of the University’s most popular programs including nursing, psychology, kinesiology, business, pharmacy, criminal justice, neuroscience, and engineering.
  • New first-year students come to URI this year from 24 countries including Korea, China, Indonesia, India, and Canada.
  • After Rhode Island, the top states represented in the first-year class are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, respectively.
  • The University’s oldest student is a graduate student born in 1943, while its youngest, is an undergraduate student born in 2005.
  • There are 22 sets of twins entering URI as first-year students.
  • Just over 20% of our graduate students enrolled in URI’s oceanography, engineering, and pharmacy programs are international, hailing from countries including Canada, Mexico, Romania, Korea, and more.
  • Two of URI’s graduate students earned Fulbright scholarships last year. 

Other Notable Happenings

  • URI WaterFire, a public event sponsored by the University of Rhode Island together with URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement will take place Friday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m., along the riverfront in Providence, Rhode Island. Alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends are invited to join together to celebrate URI and enjoy the beauty of WaterFire.
  • The public is invited to attend Science Saturday at the Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett, Rhode Island, on Sept. 18., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free, family-friendly day offers the latest in coastal and ocean exploration, discovery, and science and includes behind-the-scenes tours, interactive experiences and conversations with a wide variety of ocean experts.
  • Alumni and Family Weekend will take place Oct. 1–3 on the Kingston Campus. URI football will take on Stony Brook, and various other events are scheduled over the weekend for alumni and URI students and their families. 
  • Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 will take place on Friday, Oct. 1 at the Ryan Center. Undergraduate and graduate students will each be permitted two guests as they cross the stage to mark the completion of their academic studies at URI, an event delayed due to COVID-19. This is a ticketed event and pre-registration is required.
  • The URI Theatre Season kicks off Oct. 14 with its first performance of the year. Silent Sky, by Lauren Gunderson, is the first of four plays this year, also including Clue: On Stage, Twelfth Night, and The Wizard of Oz, scheduled for the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • The URI Music Department kicks off a robust 2021-2022 schedule of performances on Sept. 12 with the University Artist Series: “Make Them Hear You,” featuring Melissa Joseph, soprano; René de la Garza, baritone; David Gilliland, pianist.  
  • URI’s 15th annual Distinguished Achievement Awards originally scheduled for the fall of 2020, has been rescheduled for Oct. 23 at the Newport Marriott. The awards honor alumni, corporations, and friends who excel in professional achievement, leadership contributions, community service, and philanthropic endeavors.