Colin Rumbel 2017 Student Commencement Speaker

Colin Rumbel ’17

Communication studies and public relations major Colin Rumbel, student commencement speaker for URI’s Class of 2017, hopes to leave every graduating senior feeling the sense of community that he has felt at URI.

Temidayo ‘Dayo’ Akinjisola ’17

You might say Temidayo ‘Dayo’ Akinjisola was hard at work in supply chain management long before he undertook the study of it.

Catherine Linh ’17

Persistence. In Catherine Linh’s family, persistence is passed down, a more dominant and easily traceable trait than either height or eye color.

It wears many faces – that of the young, single mother leaving her country behind and working to support her family in America; that of a grandmother studying for her Naturalization Exam to pave the way for her son and his family to immigrate; that of a child learning English in order to speak on behalf of her family.

Austin Becker

Austin Becker

The changing climate is a motivating factor in Austin Becker’s research to make coastal communities stronger and more resilient to the effects of storms, sea level rise, and other hazards. That research just received a big boost. Professor Becker was just named a 2017 Sloan Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Justin Wyatt

Justin Wyatt

You’re a young, newly minted scholar with a Ph.D. in film and television studies from UCLA. What to do next? Tenured position at a respected university? Vice president of a major television network? Maybe a book about Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides?

Annemarie Vaccaro

Annemarie Vaccaro

It typically takes decades of work to earn a lifetime achievement award. But Annemarie Vaccaro, associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health Sciences, has earned such an award at age 44. NASPA recently named Vaccaro the recipient of the 2017 George D. Kuh Outstanding Contribution to Literature and/or Research Award.

Cassie Jacob

Cassie Jacob ’17

A self-described former shy girl, Cassie “CeCe” Jacob can trace her transformation to extrovert to a single moment. It was four years ago. Then a freshman, Jacob stopped to look at a chalk outline of a person on the asphalt outside of Hope Commons. “It was an ad to apply to be a tour guide. Tour guiding is where my heart is. It gave me the courage and the confidence to be who I am now.”

Tim Mendonca

Timothy Mendonça ’13

Timothy Mendonça is wrapping up a job as production coordinator for what he calls a “small” film: First Reformed. It stars Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried and is written and directed by Paul Schrader, the screenwriter who gave us Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

Julie Coiro

Julie Coiro

In an era that has spawned such terms as “post-truth,” “false narrative,” and “fake news,” how are students to use the internet as a reliable research tool?
There’s a real danger that an entire generation of children will be unable to tell fact from fiction online, says Julie Coiro.

Jennifer McCann

Jennifer McCann, M.A. ’94

Jennifer McCann of URI’s Coastal Resource Center was selected to receive the 2017 Peter Benchley Ocean Award for developing the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan, which provides regulations for the management and protection of Rhode Island’s ocean resources and activities.

Cody Anderson

Cody Anderson ’17

As president of the URI Student Senate, Cody Anderson is pushing to get the Senate to expand its focus to include more state and national issues rather than addressing exclusively campus-related topics. Following the recent elections, he said it’s important for “students to have an increasingly important role at the state and national level when it comes to education and inclusion.”

Matt Gallant, Class of '87

Matt Gallant ’87

Alumnus Matt Gallant is well known to TV audiences as host of “The Planet’s Funniest Animals” on The Animal Planet and “The List,” an entertainment magazine show. The Emmy Award winner credits his success to his days at URI as a communications studies major.