KINGSTON, R.I. – Oct. 21, 2022 – Ranger Hall has stood on the University of Rhode Island’s iconic Quadrangle for more than a century, but today it officially started its new life as the fully renovated home of the Harrington School of Communication and Media.
In August, URI completed renovations on the second, third and fourth floors of the building, adding 23,600 square feet of usable space that included active learning classrooms, a film production lab, video editing suites, and other facilities. Students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the URI community gathered on the Quadrangle today for a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by URI alumnus John King ’85, Hon. ’10, anchor and chief national correspondent for CNN.
During the ceremony, URI President Marc Parlange thanked the donors and supporters of the project and welcomed guests to take a peek inside Ranger Hall.
“This is going to be a place for collaboration, for honest discussion, and I think it’s something that we’re going to feel really good about,” Parlange said. “This is important, and I really look forward to seeing what the future holds.”
The first phase of Ranger Hall’s transformation was completed in 2016, when renovations on the building’s first floor were completed. That phase of the project created a film screening room, video editing suites with modern computers and software, computer labs, classroom space, and a living/learning room for students to gather, study, and collaborate. A media equipment center provides cameras, microphones, and other equipment for multimedia projects.
The newly completed work on Ranger’s upper floors adds a total of seven new classrooms, including active-learning classrooms that provide students a learning environment designed for collaboration. Two new editing suites are available for visual media projects. The new Film Production Lab serves as a teaching sound stage, with a green screen, property room and space to build walled sets. There are informal study spaces throughout the building to provide students with areas to work, relax, or chat with classmates.
Ammina Kothari, director of the Harrington School, said that Ranger was designed as a learning and gathering place for students in each of the school’s seven academic programs, which include communication studies, journalism, public relations, sports communication and media, writing and rhetoric, film media, and library and information studies.
“The new Ranger Hall has solidified Harrington’s position as a national leader that not only provides timely education,” Kothari said, “but also resources and facilities for students to practice the skills they are getting in the classroom.”
Jen Riley, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, in which Harrington is housed, stressed the importance of training excellent communicators at this critical point in time.
“We find ourselves in a time when disinformation is rampant, propagandists are manipulating social media, and the landscape of how we communicate with each other is in upheaval,” she said. “It’s perhaps never been more important to study communication; to train bright young journalists, documentarians, and filmmakers; to find new ways of disseminating information; and to nurture great writers and communicators—all things that Harrington does. And the value of those things has perhaps never been greater for all of us in our communities.”
King, who has covered 10 presidential elections during his career and moderated three presidential debates, said he enjoyed his visit to his alma mater and seeing the new Ranger Hall.
“I got a brief [tour] earlier,” he said. “It’s just a remarkable facility.”
King reminisced about his time at URI and how it set him on the path to success at CNN.
“It’s been a long and remarkable ride, and I owe so much of it to this place,” King said. “And I can tell the students who are here now: You might not realize it every day, but you’re getting the same gift that I now realize I got when I walked this beautiful place.”
Richard Harrington ’72, Hon. ’02, who with his wife, Jean, has been a steadfast supporter of the school that bears their name, said he’s looking forward to seeing this new facility help the Harrington School in its continued growth.
“A lot of this is for the faculty and staff so they can have the best tools and equipment to work with and have fun doing their jobs,” said Harrington, the former CEO of Thomson Reuters. “But most importantly, it’s for the students.”
One of those students who will benefit from the new facility is Katie Riedy, a class of 2024 communication studies major who was recently named one of the inaugural 100 recipients of the prestigious Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service.
“Here at URI, Harrington students like myself are provided the education needed to develop the skills to encourage understanding and create communities of acceptance and solidarity,” Riedy said during the ceremony. “Thank you all for your part in making this happen, whether you are an alum whose contributions have funded these renovations, a professor who is teaching the next generation of communication and media experts, or one of my fellow students who are growing in their knowledge of communication.”
For Riedy, the opportunities created by Ranger Hall may have come even sooner than she expected. King said he was impressed with her thoughtful remarks and polished presentation, adding, “When you’re sharing your resume, give me a crack at it.”