Empowered Students Leading Big

URI Powerlifting

#PassionforSuccess and #RhodyPower are just two of the guiding hashtag philosophies on the Instagram account of the recipient of the 2016 Team Excellence Award, themes that certainly exemplify the student spirit at the 28th A. Robert Rainville Student Leadership Awards Ceremony held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

Named for the late A. Robert Rainville, URI’s vice-president for Student Affairs from 1980-86, the awards honor students who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities, employment contributions, service to community, and academic excellence.

At the event, the following students were presented with the prestigious Rainville Student Leadership Awards: Brendan M. O’Keefe and Jennifer Scotti received the Employee Award; David Cummings received the Leadership Award, Kelsea Adams received the Servant Leadership Award, and the URI Powerlifting received the Team Excellence Award.

Rainville 2016 Nominees
Rainville 2016 Nominees

The recipients were chosen from a pool of 96 students and teams nominated by members of the campus community, and all have demonstrated academic excellence, community service, and campus involvement.

The leadership and passion the students display on campus is a great reflection of how well the University supports the student body. The Rainville Awards Ceremony is a tradition that highlights the significant contributions students and organizations make every day for the betterment of the community, according to Maureen McDermott, Interim Director of the Memorial Union, Student Involvement and The Center for Student Leadership Development.

In the course of one year, the Team Excellence Award winning URI Powerlifting Team increased its membership from 12 to 55 students, placed 10th in the Collegiate Nationals, and first in the New England Regionals. In addition to these accomplishments, members of the Powerlifting Team trained as Special Olympics facilitators and devoted their Saturday mornings to teaching aspiring powerlifters with mental, physical, and cognitive disabilities.

Jennifer Scotti, one of two recipients of the Student Employee Award, stated, “…the sheer amount of leadership, communication, conflict resolution, team-building, time-management, and people skills I have attained through my experiences at URI will likely stay with me and give perspective to my future career for the rest of my life.”

Servant Leader Award recipient Kelsea Adams’ focused commitment to Best Buddies, URI’s Jumpstart and the civic engagement leaders, has encouraged countless others to understand the exponential power that individuals have when they come together to serve a greater good.

David-Cummings-URIStudent Leadership Award recipient David Cummings’ perfect job is to cultivate his talent for advocacy and enhancing awareness of issues of inclusion with his major, Environmental Science and Management. He states,” I dream of connecting people and bridging the gap between the general public and hard core scientists.”

In addition to the award recipients, finalists were Alexander Lee Yoshimura Diehl, Melissa DiMarzio, Katie Favino, Kelli Hingerton, Rochelle Pickering, Amanda Rode, Amy M. Rumanowski, Caitlin Runyon, Michelle Suriani, Leadership Institute Team,  Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council’s – DiveRI.org, and  Student Entertainment Committee.

The Division of Student Affairs is proud to recognize and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of all the students and organizations whose leadership, teamwork, and service to the community make URI a better place.


Story by Sheri Davis and Photos by Michael J. Nolfe