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​​​Joseph Neri ’69

Four alumni of the Class of 1969 connected over memories shared at Rhode Island College to mark their 50th anniversary year. David Marzelli, Wayne Riendeau, Joseph Neri and Richard Clark reminisced and shared words of appreciation for the college.

Overall, the four were most thankful for the friendships they made on campus. “When I walked on campus, I didn’t know a soul,” said Marzelli, a history major. But through his experiences in a fraternity on campus and as the college’s soccer goalie, he “met a family.” 

David Marzelli ’69

For Wayne Riendeau, a secondary English major, Rhode Island College helped him create a family – he met his wife at RIC in the late 1960s. “She was a commuter, but we met through mutual friends,” said Riendeau. Even today being on campus is like “being home,” he said. 

Wayne Riendeau ’69

Although 50 years have passed, the reasons these alumni chose Rhode Island College sound similar to RIC students today. Joseph Neri, a communications major, said he knew the college was the right choice for him because it was affordable. “I was the first in my family to go to college, coming from a very humble background,” he said. He knew that by attending Rhode Island College he could afford to become a teacher. During his 30 years in education, he worked as a teacher, administrator and adult education program manager. 

The four members of the Class of ’69 also mused on the life-changing experiences and opportunities they had at Rhode Island College. Richard Clark, a history major, went straight into the workforce immediately after graduation, working as a teacher before moving into the manufacturing industry. Clark stressed that Rhode Island College provided him a foundation that served him well throughout his career – he came away with “an appreciation for cultivating knowledge throughout life.” 

Richard Clark ’69

As the classmates said farewell, they reflected upon their excitement about reconnecting and commemorating their times at Rhode Island College. “I feel very thankful to have been a student here,” said Wayne Riendeau.​