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RIC's Advanced Degree Grads Told to Work Hard and Earn Success 

Nearly 350 Rhode Island College students received advanced degrees during their commencement ceremony May 16.

Nearly 350 Rhode Island College students received advanced degrees during their commencement ceremony May 16.

No success worth having comes without hard work and Rhode Island College graduates are uniquely positioned to handle the charge of earning their accomplishments through dedication and perseverance, Giovanni Feroce, CEO of Alex and Ani, told advanced degree recipients in his commencement address. Feroce was the keynote speaker for the ceremony during which 338 students received advanced degrees.

Feroce told them that they “represent RIC. You personify the RIC graduate. Use what you have learned here. You are on your way.”

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also addressed the graduates, urging them to follow the advice of Martin Luther King Jr., who said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Never be silent and speak up,” Taveras said, urging the graduates to get involved in civic matters. “I look forward to working with you to make a better city and state.”

During the ceremony, Feroce, whose brother is a RIC alumnus, was given an honorary degree. In bestowing the degree, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said Feroce helped Alex and Ani, a Cranston-based manufacturer of eco-friendly, positive energy products, grow the company from $4.5 million in sales in 2010 to $80 million last year.

“Many people successfully change careers,” Carriuolo said. “However, few achieve the success you have in successive careers. You are an inspiration to many, especially first-generation Americans, combat veterans and entrepreneurs struggling to succeed in challenging economic times.”

Carriuolo also praised Alex and Ani’s support of Rhode Island College including its $1 million contribution to the college’s new $17 million art center, which will be named Alex and Ani Hall.

Addressing the graduates, Carriuolo took a moment to recognize veterans within the class of 2013 as well as veterans in attendance and to emphasize RIC’s role as the first public higher education institution in the state.“As such we are proud of our long tradition of excellence,” Carriuolo said.

During the ceremony, honorary degrees also were given to Donald Driscoll, a double RIC alumnus and longtime Providence educator, and Charles Townsend, a Rhode Island business leader in the development of the cellular communications industry.