Speakers and Honored Guests

Honorary Degree Recipients

  • Terry Tempest Williams -

    Undergraduate Commencement Speaker
    Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

    Terry Tempest Williams is a writer, naturalist, freedom-of-speech advocate, and award-winning author who has shown how environmental issues are social issues that become matters of justice. She has testified before Congress on women’s health, been a guest at the White House, camped in the Utah and Alaska wildernesses, and worked as “a barefoot artist” in Rwanda. Read more

  • Zaven Khachaturian -

    Honorary Doctor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

    Zaven Khachaturian is widely recognized as the “father” of modern Alzheimer’s disease research. His scientific interest in brain mechanism of memory and his academic career in brain research began in the late 1950s at Yale University. In the span of subsequent decades, he has served in high-level positions in academia, private sector and government. Read more

  • Wendy Schmidt -

    Honorary Doctor of Science

    Wendy Schmidt is a philanthropist and investor who has spent nearly two decades creating innovative non-profit organizations to work with communities around the world for clean, renewable energy, resilient food systems, healthy oceans and the protection of human rights. Read more

  • Clint Smith -

    Honorary Doctor of Education

    Clint Smith is an interdisciplinary scholar and inspirational social justice educator, poet, author, and renowned speaker who holds a Ph.D. in education from Harvard University. Smith is a staff writer for The Atlantic and bestselling author, and continues to serve as an educator through his columns in The Atlantic, books, poetry, and YouTube series on Black American history. Read more

Student Speakers

  • Tania Silva de Oliveira -

    Graduate Student Speaker

    Tania Silva de Oliveira earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in December 2022, and is now an analytical research scientist at a Boston-based global pharmaceutical company that develops drugs to treat some of the world’s most serious conditions. Read more

  • Mazen Taman -

    Undergraduate Student Speaker

    Mazen Taman, a former football student-athlete who was selected as this year's student speaker, has much to share from a journey that soon will include a URI Doctor of Pharmacy degree and entry to Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. Read more