Celebrating New Graduates, New Growth

CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers '91 will address the Class of 2017 at this year's Commencement. Duthiers, the son of Haitian immigrants, is a Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist who says he still draws on his URI experiences—from his ROTC training to political science courses, to his work for the Good 5 Cent Cigar and WRIU.

CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers ’91 will address the Class of 2017 at this year’s Commencement. Duthiers, the son of Haitian immigrants, is a Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist who says he still draws on his URI experiences—from his ROTC training to political science courses, to his work for the Good 5 Cent Cigar and WRIU.

The University of Rhode Island—your University—has educated generations of Rhode Islanders.  Rhode Islanders like former Chairman and CEO of Hasbro Al Verrecchia, former Chairman and CEO of CVS Health Tom Ryan, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Laurie White, and Executive Director of the State of Rhode Island’s Tomaquag Indian Museum Lorén Spears, who received the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at this year’s commencement ceremonies. Each of these accomplished individuals has made a difference and made a mark in so many ways. This year’s graduating class continues in their footsteps and is poised to contribute to our society in ways we may not yet imagine.

As we send another class of graduates into the world and reflect on our 125 years as the state’s flagship public research institution, there is much to celebrate. This year we congratulated our largest graduating class in history with 4,122 students being awarded 3,666 undergraduate degrees and 749 graduate degrees. We are a thriving community of scholars; our application and enrollment numbers continue to soar; our campus is alive with the sounds and sights of cutting-edge facilities that have in turn attracted talented new faculty members to the University. As a result of public support and investment, URI is increasingly a first-choice destination for exceptional high school seniors.

At URI, we have seen positive results from our efforts to help all students complete their degree programs in a timely manner. A decade ago, only 45 percent of first year students completed 30 credits and were on track to graduate on time. Now, almost 72 percent are on the glide path to graduate within four years. We credit these increases to intentional student success initiatives. Our “Take 5, Finish in 4” campaign encourages students to take and complete 15 credits each semester. Degree maps, strong professional advising, the addition of our popular winter “J” Term, the growth of our summer sessions, and increased on-line courses are all ways we meet students where they are to help ensure their academic success.

URI represents opportunity—a chance to join a community of learners and scholars, with all the advantages of a global research university and a collegiate campus social experience. This year’s graduating class demonstrates Rhode Island’s place as an education leader committed to the success of its entire citizenry. Congratulations to our graduates for their academic excellence, leadership, and perseverance.

Learn more about some of this year’s inspiring graduates and scholarship winners at uri.edu/commencement