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Advanced-degree ceremony Carriuolo’s first as president

Morris Nathanson delivers the keynote speech.

Morris Nathanson delivers the keynote speech.
Morris Nathanson, the advanced degree commencement’s keynote speaker, was introduced as a “builder of communities.” The same may be said someday for many of the graduate students who on May 14 received degrees ranging from doctors of philosophy to masters of arts, fine arts, social work, education and accounting.

The ceremony, held in the Auditorium in Roberts Hall, was attended by many of the 292 advanced-degree recipients who earned their diplomas in January and May, or will complete their requirements in August 2009.

Graduates list


RIC President Nancy Carriuolo
addresses the graduate ceremony.
It was an evening of firsts for RIC’s current and immediate past presidents. RIC President Nancy Carriuolo presided over her first full commencement exercise and John Nazarian, the college’s president emeritus, who retired in June 2008 after 54 years of service to the college, received his first honorary doctorate degree, in public service.

Nathanson, a leading designer and historic preservationist, received an honorary doctorate in humanities. In his address, he described his pioneering efforts in turning vacant mill buildings in Pawtucket into places where artists live and work. Nathanson, a Pawtucket native, told the graduates, “being rooted and staying is not losing … nor surrendering.”

He repeated the words of Robert F. Kennedy, which he said have guided him, including the sentence: “If we fail to dare, if we do not try, the next generation will harvest the fruit of our indifference; a world we did not want – a world we did not choose – but a world we could have made better, by caring more for the results of our labors.”

Carriuolo noted that the graduates would most likely engage in community service outside of their careers. “As you do so,” she said, “please carry in your hearts RIC’s new tag line

Former RIC President Nazarian
receives an honorary doctorate.
of Reach, Inspire and Connect. The RIC community has tried – and I hope has been successful – in reaching out, inspiring and connecting with each of you as a graduate student.”

Two of the candidates for doctor of philosophy in education – Gerri S. August and Kimberly Cotter-Lemus – successfully defended their dissertations and received degrees at the ceremony. The doctorate, a joint program between RIC and the University of Rhode Island, was given to August and Cotter-Lemus because their advisor is a RIC faculty member.

Michael Ryan, vice chair of the state’s Board of Governors for Higher Education, praised Jack Warner, outgoing commissioner of higher education, saying he “changed the face of higher education” in his 7 years as its leader. Warner will take another post in South Dakota in June.

Ten graduating music majors opened the ceremony by singing the National Anthem. Musical selections were performed by the American Band, which was founded in 1837 and is one of the oldest civilian concert bands in the U.S.