University of Rhode Island

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University of Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island seal.svg
Former names
Rhode Island College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts (1892–1909)
Rhode Island State College (1909–1951)
MottoThink Big. We Do.
Type Public flagship land-grant research university
EstablishedMay 19, 1892;129 years ago (1892-05-19)
Accreditation NECHE
Academic affiliations
Land-grant, Sea-grant, Space-grant
Endowment $163.6 million (2020) [1]
President Marc Parlange
Provost Donald H. DeHayes
Administrative staff
675 full time
Students17,064 (Spring 2019) [2]
Undergraduates 14,027 (Spring 2019) [2]
Postgraduates 2,780 (Spring 2019) [2]
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural, 1,254 acres (5.07 km2)
Colors Keaney Blue, White & Navy Blue
Nickname Rams
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I
Atlantic 10 Conference
Colonial Athletic Association (football)
Mascot Rhody the Ram
University of Rhode Island logo.svg

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is a public land-grant research university with its main campus in Kingston, Rhode Island, United States. It is the flagship public research as well as the land-grant university of the state of Rhode Island. Its main campus is located in the village of Kingston in southern Rhode Island. Satellite campuses include the Feinstein Campus in Downtown Providence, the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence's Jewelry District, the Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, and the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.


The university offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in 80 undergraduate and 49 graduate areas of study through nine academic schools and colleges. These schools and colleges include Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Professional Studies, Engineering, Health Sciences, Environment and Life Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy and Oceanography. Another college, University College for Academic Success, serves primarily as an advising college for all incoming undergraduates and follows them through their first two years of enrollment at URI. The university is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity". [3] As of 2019, the URI enrolled 14,653 undergraduate students, 1,982 graduate students, and 1,339 non-degree students, making it the largest university in the state. [4] [5]


The University of Rhode Island was first chartered as the state's agricultural school and agricultural experiment station in 1888. The site of the school was originally the Oliver Watson Farm in Kingston, whose original farmhouse is now a small museum. In 1892, the school became known as the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. [6] The first class had only seventeen students, each completing their course of study in two years. In 1909, the school's name was again changed to Rhode Island State College as the school's programs were expanded beyond its original agricultural education mandate.

In 1951 the school was given its current title through an act of the General Assembly following the addition of the College of Arts and Sciences and the offering of doctoral degrees. The Board of Governors for Higher Education, appointed by the governor, became the governing body of the University in 1981 during the presidency of Frank Newman (1974–1983). The Board of Governors was replaced by the Rhode Island Board of Education in 2013, [7] and by a 17-member Board of Trustees in 2019.

In 2013 the faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online. [8]


Twelve individuals have served as president of the University of Rhode Island. Marc B. Parlange is the current president, having served since August of 2021. [9]

Main campus

URI's main campus is located in northern South Kingstown, and is accessed via Rhode Island Route 138 from either the west (Interstate 95) or east (United States Route 1). The campus was mostly farmland when it was purchased by the state in 1888, and still includes the c. 1796 Oliver Watson Farmhouse. The early buildings of the campus are set around its main quadrangle, and were built out of locally quarried granite. The campus master plan was developed by the noted landscape architects Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot in the 1890s. The central portion of the campus, where most of its pre-1950 buildings are located, [10] was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.


Academic rankings
ARWU [12] 182–190
Forbes [13] 444
THE/WSJ [14] 401–500
U.S. News & World Report [15] 170
Washington Monthly [16] 151
ARWU [17] 801–900
THE [18] 601–800
U.S. News & World Report [19] 774

URI is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. [20] The student-faculty ratio at University of Rhode Island is 16:1, and the school has 43.1% of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at University of Rhode Island include: Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; Psychology, General; Speech Communication and Rhetoric; Kinesiology and Exercise Science; and Health-Related Knowledge and Skills, Other. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 84%. [21]


U.S. News & World Report ranks URI tied for 170th overall among 389 "national universities" and tied for 83rd out of 209 "top public schools" in 2021. [22]

Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks URI for 51-75 globally for ''Oceanography'' in 2021. [24]


The average incoming freshman at the Kingston campus for the fall of 2017 had a GPA of 3.54 and an SAT score of 1178 (out of 1600) (with ACT scores converted to SAT scale). [25]

Student clubs

URI has 18 club sports teams consisting of around 600 athletes. Club sports the school offers include tennis, equestrian, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, crew, gymnastics, lacrosse and sailing, amongst others. These teams travel and compete against other intercollegiate programs in the country. URI also has 20+ intramural sports, including volleyball, badminton, dodgeball, and soccer. The intramural sports allow students to compete in tournaments and games with other students on campus. [26]

URI also has over 300 student organizations and clubs including marching band, the Marine Science Society, SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance), Ether(bound), Anime Club, musicians guild, We're Offering Women Wisdom (WOWW), Puppy Raisers, and Alima International Dance Association. [27] The university's student newspaper, The Good Five Cent Cigar, was founded in 1971. [28]


URI Athletics Logo Rhode Island Rams logo.svg
URI Athletics Logo
University of Rhode Island Rams Football at Meade Stadium Meade Field Panorama.JPG
University of Rhode Island Rams Football at Meade Stadium

The University of Rhode Island competes in 16 intercollegiate sports. [29] The university is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

The Rhode Island Rams men's basketball competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and has appeared in the NCAA "March Madness” Tournament a total of 10 times since its first appearance in 1961. Two of these ten appearances occurred during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. [30] [31]

Athletic facilities include the Ryan Center, Keaney Gymnasium, Meade Stadium, Mackal Field House, Tootell Aquatic Center, Bradford R. Boss Arena, URI Soccer Complex, Bill Beck Field, and URI Softball Complex.

Quadrangle on an early September evening at University of Rhode Island. URIQuad.jpg
Quadrangle on an early September evening at University of Rhode Island.

Off campus living

While 5600 students live in the 25 on campus residence halls, thousands more opt to commute from the surrounding area. [32] Narragansett, an abutting town to Kingston, is made up of hundreds of summer vacation homes which are rented to students for the academic year.

Notable alumni

Notable University of Rhode Island alumni in politics and government include Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (B.Sc. 1981), [33] 38th mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza (B.Sc. 1998), [34] and governors of Rhode Island Lincoln Almond (B.Sc. 1959) and J. Joseph Garrahy (1953).

Notable graduates in journalism and media include CNN correspondent John King (B.A. 1985), [35] CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour (B.A. 1983), and CBS correspondent Vladimir Duthiers (B.A. 1991).

Among URI's alumni in the arts and entertainment are actors J. T. Walsh, Peter Frechette (B.F.A.), and Amanda Clayton.

Notable graduates in business and finance include billionaire Ben Navarro (B.Sc. 1984); former president of American Airlines, Robert Crandall (1960); and former CEO of CVS, Thomas Ryan (1975).

Notable faculty

See also

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Coordinates: 41°28′51″N71°31′33″W / 41.48071°N 71.52580°W / 41.48071; -71.52580