As we prepare for the Commencement season and embark on summer work, we encourage all members of our community to reflect on the University’s values and standards (articulated in URI Cornerstone Values) and serve as ambassadors for the institution. No matter where our plans may take us while we are away from URI or commencing to our next opportunity in life, each of us can embody these values and sense of community that we share here at our university.
I have continued to appreciate, and reflect upon, two extraordinary events at the Ryan Center recently – and neither of these events involved basketball. The first was Dr. Jane Goodall’s inspirational and moving lecture, presented at the University of Rhode Island on September 19. The second was the energizing and entertaining interview, with questions from the audience, of Bill Nye, the Science Guy, on October 20. Organizers estimated that over 4,000 people attended Dr. Goodall’s lecture, and approximately 3,000 came out to hear Bill Nye. People from all across Rhode Island (and elsewhere) were at both events, but our students were especially well represented in the audiences.
As I write this letter, we are preparing to welcome the class of 2021 to campus. They are an outstanding group of entering students by any measure. As was the case with the class of 2020, the class of 2021 continues a trajectory of raising URI’s academic profile, with the highest average SAT scores and highest average GPA—3.54—of any entering class. With record applications of 22,630, the 3,250 members of the class of 2021 are also part of our most selective class ever.
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. 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.
As a research university we have the unique opportunity to investigate nature – its present, past, and future. We also have the responsibility to identify and test solutions to challenges within it, whether these are associated with infectious disease, aging, pollution, or climate change, to cite just a few examples.
As we await the next steps in the conflict over immigration policy, it is worth articulating the importance of international partnerships and global engagement to the University of Rhode Island. In 2010 I wrote the following statement about our goal to internationalize and globalize the University of Rhode Island: “Our world is shrinking as technology […]
Uncertainty breeds anxiety. As we begin the spring semester in 2017 we must acknowledge that our community faces widespread uncertainty. Like many familiar issues that we face in the 21st century, the new uncertainties are global in scale, involving politics, economics, the environment, the nature and future of American society, and America’s role in the […]
We must recognize, no matter how difficult our own path may have been, that the path for other Americans may be even rougher, steeper, and more challenging than our own. “Equality of opportunity” might be an American ideal, but it has never been, and is not now, the reality for all Americans. Education, and especially higher education, has been one of the most productive mechanisms to fight inequality and to level the path to achieving the American Dream.
This has been a difficult and frequently discouraging summer for our country. The horrific shootings in Orlando, St. Paul, Dallas, and Baton Rouge, the corrosive gun-related violence that plagues many of our cities, the vitriolic and demeaning rhetoric of the political campaigns, and the escalating tensions associated with race and class and religion in America […]