University of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island
Former names
Rhode Island College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts (1892–1909)
Rhode Island State College (1909–1951)
TypePublic land-grant research university
EstablishedMay 19, 1892; 132 years ago (1892-05-19)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$203 million (2022)[1]
PresidentMarc Parlange
ProvostBarbara E. Wolfe
Administrative staff
675 full time
Students18,061 (Fall 2021)[2]
Undergraduates14,654 (Fall 2021)[2]
Postgraduates3,407 (Fall 2021)[2]
Location, ,
United States
CampusLarge Suburb, 1,254 acres (5.07 km2)
Other campuses
NewspaperThe Good 5¢ Cigar
ColorsNavy Blue and Keaney Blue[3]
Sporting affiliations
MascotRhody the Ram

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 Rhode Island. The university is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[4] 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.[5][6]

Its main campus is located in the village of Kingston in southern Rhode Island. Satellite campuses include 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. 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 of Rhode Island was first chartered as the Rhode Island State Agricultural School, associated with the state 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 was reorganized as the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.[7] That year, it extended courses of study from two years to four years; URI reckons 1892 as its founding date. 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.

The college graduated its first African American student, Harvey Robert Turner, in 1914. Turner majored in civil engineering, competed on the college's football and track teams, and received a Bachelor of Science degree. He went on to teach at Prairie View A&M University, where he also served as treasurer.[8][9]

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,[10] 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.[11]


Twelve individuals have served as president, and three others have served as acting president of the University of Rhode Island. Marc B. Parlange is the current president, having served since August 2021.[12]

Main campus[edit]

URI's main campus is located in northern South Kingstown,[13] and most of the university property is in the Kingston census-designated place.[14]

The campus 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,[15] was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.



Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[19]151
Washington Monthly[20]130
WSJ/College Pulse[21]401–500
U.S. News & World Report[24]774

URI is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.[25] 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%.[26]


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.[27]

  • 40th in ''Pharmacy (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 47th in "Best Library and Information Studies Program (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 53rd in ''Best Nursing School: Master's (tie)'' in 2021[28]
  • 54th in ''Earth Sciences (tie)'' in 2021[28]
  • 80th in ''Best Nursing School: Doctor of Nursing Practice (tie)'' in 2021[28]
  • 101st in ''Clinical Psychology (tie)'' in 2021[28]
  • 102nd in "Physical Therapy (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 108th in "English (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 109th in "Speech-Language Pathology (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 119th in ''Computer Sciences (tie)'' in 2021[28]
  • 119th in "Best Education Schools (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 122nd in "Chemistry (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 127th in "Mathematics (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 131st in "Psychology (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 132nd in ''Best Undergraduate Engineering Program'' in 2021.[26]
  • 140th in ''Biological Sciences (tie)'' in 2021[28]
  • 146th in "Physics (tie)" in 2021[28]
  • 154th-202nd in "Best Engineering Schools" in 2021[28]

Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks URI for 51-75 globally for ''Oceanography'' in 2021.[29]


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).[30]

Student clubs[edit]

URI has 18 club sports teams consisting of around 600 athletes. Club sports the school offers include men's and women's ice hockey, soccer, tennis, equestrian, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, crew, gymnastics, 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.[31]

URI also has over 300 student organizations and clubs.[32] The university's student newspaper, The Good Five Cent Cigar, was founded in 1971.[33] It is also home to several Greek-lettered organizations.[34]


URI Athletics Logo
University of Rhode Island Rams Football at Meade Stadium

The University of Rhode Island competes in 16 intercollegiate sports.[35] The university is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference and the Coastal 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.[36][37]

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.

Off campus living[edit]

While 5600 students live in the 25 on campus residence halls, thousands more opt to commute from the surrounding area.[38] 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[edit]

Notable University of Rhode Island alumni in politics and government include Lieutenant General (retired) Michael Flynn (B.Sc. 1981),[39] 38th mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza (B.Sc. 1998),[40] 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),[41] 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.), Amanda Clayton, and Andrew Burnap (recipient of the 2020 Tony Award- Best Actor in a Play, The Inheritance.)

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[edit]

See also[edit]

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  1. ^ As of March 7, 2022. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2021 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY20 to FY21 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. 2022. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Final Enrollment Reports" (PDF). University of Rhode Island. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "Brand Colors". September 1, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2023.
  4. ^ "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". Center for Postsecondary Education. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Facts".
  6. ^ "The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)". U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Rice, M.A., S. Rodrigues and K. Venturini. "Philosophical & Institutional Innovations of Kenyon Leech Butterfield and the Rhode Island Contributions to the Development of Land Grant and Sea Grant Extension". Century Beyond the Campus: Past, Present, and Future of Extension A Research Symposium to Mark the 100th Anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act September 24–25, 2014, West Virginia University. Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Sep. 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Slater, Robert Bruce (1996). "The First Black Graduates of the Nation's 50 Flagship State Universities". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (13): 83. doi:10.2307/2963173. ISSN 1077-3711.
  9. ^ The Granite Yearbook. Vol. 17. Kingston: University of Rhode Island. 1913. p. 27.
  10. ^ Associated Press (March 11, 2013). "New RI Board of Ed meets for first time". Archived from the original on August 18, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "University of Rhode Island". ROARMAP: Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies. UK: University of Southampton. December 15, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "University of Rhode Island history and timeline". University of Rhode Island. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: South Kingstown town, RI" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. pp. 1-2 (PDF pp. 2-3/7). Retrieved July 2, 2023. Univ of Rhode Island
  14. ^ "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Kingston CDP, RI" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2023. Univ of Rhode Island
  15. ^ "Draft NRHP nomination for University of Rhode Island Historic District" (PDF). Rhode Island Preservation. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "East Hall Turns 100". University of Rhode Island. January 7, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2016. The 100th anniversary of the official opening of East Hall on October 15, 1909, was celebrated on October 15, 2009
  17. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  18. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2023". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  19. ^ "2023-2024 Best National Universities". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  20. ^ "2023 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  21. ^ "2024 Best Colleges in the U.S." The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  22. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  23. ^ "World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  24. ^ "2022-23 Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  25. ^ Rhode Island Institutions – NECHE, New England Commission of Higher Education, retrieved May 26, 2021
  26. ^ a b "University of Rhode Island Academics". U.S. News & World Report.
  27. ^ "University of Rhode Island Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "URI's Graduate School Rankings". U.S. News & World Report.
  29. ^ "2021 Global Rankings of Academic Subjects". Shanghai Ranking.
  30. ^ Fall 2017 Campus Highlights, University of Rhode Island, Office of Institutional Research.
  31. ^ "Athletics and Recreation".
  32. ^ "Student Organizations - University of Rhode Island".
  33. ^ "Women lighting the way for The Good 5-Cent Cigar". Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  34. ^ "Chapters of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc". Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  35. ^ "Athletics and Recreation". University of Rhode Island. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  36. ^ "University of Rhode Island -".
  37. ^ "General - Story Archives". University of Rhode Island. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  38. ^ "Facts". Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  39. ^ Fenton, Josh. "URI Scrambles As General Flynn's Ties to QAnon Come Under Greater Scrutiny". GoLocalProv. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  40. ^ Rogerson, Kate (March 23, 2017). "URI Alum: Jorge Elorza, Mayor of Providence | The Good 5 Cent Cigar". Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  41. ^ "John King, CNN's chief national correspondent, analyzes election results for viewers in front of the "Magic Wall." (Photo courtesy of CNN)". Westerly Sun. Retrieved February 22, 2021.

External links[edit]

41°28′51″N 71°31′33″W / 41.48071°N 71.52580°W / 41.48071; -71.52580