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Sesquicentennial Memories

Remembering Commissioner Bicknell

While the College, during the course of its 150-year history, has had a full measure of courageous, innovative, accomplished, and energetic leaders, few have been as vital to the establishment and growth of the institution as the 35-year old Commissioner of Public Schools appointed on June 1, 1869: Thomas Williams Bicknell.

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Our Centennial Commencement

With the College’s Sesquicentennial Commencement upon us, it is a fine opportunity to look back upon the Commencement held fifty years ago, on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the institution’s founding.

read complete article: "Our Centennial Commencement"

Normal Education in Rhode Island 1857-1871:
Decline and Resurrection

As is the case with so many great institutions throughout history, the early years of the Rhode Island Normal School were marked by both triumph and struggle. Founded in 1854, the institution’s early years were highly successful. Opponents and other circumstances soon combined, however, to challenge the vitality of the Normal School.

read complete article: "Normal Education in Rhode Island 1857-1871: Decline and Resurrection"

The General Assembly Votes to Re-Establish the Rhode Island Normal School

On Tuesday, February 28, 1871, State Education Commissioner Thomas W. Bicknell ventured to the Old State House on Benefit Street to hear the State Senate debate a measure to re-establish the Rhode Island Normal School, which had ceased operations in July of 1865. What Bicknell did not know was that he would be called upon to lead the debate on the floor of the Senate, then, as in the years since, an extraordinarily rare occurrence.

read complete article: "The General Assembly Votes to Re-Establish the Rhode Island Normal School"

RIC Takes Lead in Abolition of Teacher Loyalty Oath
Sesquicentennial Memories

Today, as the nation engages in lively debate over certain aspects of the Patriot Act, it may be appropriate to look back to an earlier time when Rhode Island College became a national leader in the debate over another First Amendment issue: the teacher’s loyalty oath.

read complete article: "RIC Takes Lead in Abolition of Teacher Loyalty Oath Sesquicentennial Memories"

John Lincoln Alger: Last Principal, First President

Construction fencing has gone up around the gigantic shoebox of a building known as Alger Hall. Pre-construction work has begun on the venerable 45-year old structure, which is slated for transformation into a new center of learning that will serve as home to the School of Management and Technology.

read complete article: "John Lincoln Alger: Last Principal, First President"

Looking Back to the Future

On October 27, 1960, Lachlan Blair of Blair Associates unveiled a 20-year development plan for Rhode Island College that would become the basic blueprint for the design of the campus as we know it today. The plan was designed to accommodate a projected enrollment of 4,000 by the year 1980. Although Blair's sense of design and development proved to be insightful, the enrollment projections with which he worked were met far earlier than anticipated; by 1970, the headcount enrollment was well over 4,000.

read complete article: "Looking Back to the Future"

School of Social Work Begins its 25th Year

As Rhode Island College observes its Sesquicentennial, the School of Social Work this fall begins its 25th year on campus. During the course of a quarter century, the School has enrolled thousands of students and has had five different homes, but just one Dean: George D. Metrey.

read complete article: "School of Social Work Begins its 25th Year"

College Opens First Residence Hall

As Rhode Island College awaits the recommendations of a feasibility study to construct a sixth residence hall, it is interesting to review the events surrounding the opening of its first residence hall 42 years ago, on September 10, 1961.

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Looking Back on the Makers of Rhode Island College History

There are many ways by which to chronicle the grand history of one of the ten oldest public normal schools in the nation – an institution we now know as Rhode Island College. A common thread throughout the years, however, lies in the extraordinary vision, drive, and dynamism of those individuals who rose to the many challenges of founding, protecting, sustaining, and growing our alma mater. This is an account of some of those special individuals.

read complete article: "Looking Back on the Makers of Rhode Island College History"

Remembering the Presidency of Joseph Kauffman

On January 31, 1968 the Board of Trustees of State Colleges selected Joseph Frank Kauffman, Ed.D., Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, to serve as the fourth President of Rhode Island College.

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Demise of the Normal School's 1871 Home

In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 11, 1899, the third home of the Rhode Island State Normal School was destroyed by a three-alarm fire. Located at 265 Westminster Street on Christian Hill (now known as Hoyle Square), this building served the institution from September 1871 until larger quarters were secured on Benefit Street in December 1878.

read complete article: "Demise of the Normal School's 1871 Home"

Tumultuous Dedication of the Student Union

As the College looks forward to the reopening of its newly renovated and expanded Student Union later this semester, it is interesting to look back to the lively circumstances surrounding its dedication 35 years ago, on February 28, 1968.

read complete article: "Tumultuous Dedication of the Student Union"

Remembering Mary A. Weber

Thirty-eight years ago, the College lost one of its legendary faculty members whose memory continues to be honored in the name of the College’s second residence hall.

read complete article: "Remembering Mary A. Weber"

New England's First Normal School to Become a College of Education

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the re-establishment of the Rhode Island State Normal School, held in 1911, the visionary, energetic, and determined former Commissioner of Public Schools who led the effort to re-establish the school, Thomas W. Bicknell, delivered an oration entitled "The Future of the Normal School."

read complete article: "New England's First Normal School to Become a College of Education"

Commencement Speakers: Now and Then

Those who were fortunate enough to be present at either The Murray Center or at one of the remote on-campus viewing locations for the College’s Undergraduate Commencement on May 17, 2003 heard what is already being touted as one of the most impressive principal commencement addresses in recent memory.

read complete article: "Commencement Speakers: Now and Then"

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