Photo Caption Contest

Archival photo of student picnic at Wordon Pond
Have a funny idea for what’s going on in this photograph from the University of Rhode Island library archives? Email your caption to, or respond at

Submit entries by August 30, 2018

Achival photo of 3 women working on an airplane.
Spring Winners: Flying High
This image from an aeronautics class highlights a little-known chapter in URI history. In 1932—the year before Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany—the Rhode Island State College reorganized into three schools, one of them the School of Engineering. Russian émigrés Igor Sikorski and Nicholas Alexander were hired to lead the school’s program in aeronautical engineering, a decision that would help URI become a home for aircraft and helicopter prototypes.
By the final years of World War II, yearbooks indicate the engineering faculty was still all male, while female students largely majored in home ec and institutional management—but were starting to make inroads into fields like science and business. This photo from our archives, titled “1944 Women in Aeronautics Class,” shows they were making inroads into engineering, too.
Many submissions, doubtless inspired by the 1940s hairstyles, riffed on themes like home ec and mechanical confusion. A. David Farnham ’58 wrote to take us to task for setting readers up for sexism: “Your current Photo Caption Contest shows three very intent serious women learning critical skills from at least one lifetime ago. You present your readers with a dilemma. You ask for ‘a funny idea’ for what’s going on. Today there is no one, woman or man, on campus who would openly ridicule a woman’s serious efforts or accomplishments.”
Point taken. Happily, however, there were plenty of entries that were just plain funny. Here are our picks; thanks as always to all who entered.

Winning Caption
“Whose bright idea was it to buy an airplane from IKEA?”—John Palumbo ’76

Runner Up
Spin Class—Jill S. Mason ’82

Honorable Mention
“You know, they say these drones are gonna get a lot smaller.”—Tom DeNucci ’76

Early blow dryer proved cumbersome.—Jill S. Mason ’82