University of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

Rhode Island, University of, at Kingston; coeducational; land-grant and state-supported; chartered 1888, opened as a school 1890, as an agricultural and mechanical college 1892. From 1909 to 1951 it was called Rhode Island State College. It maintains a graduate school of oceanography on Narragansett Bay, a planetarium, a center for robotics research, and the state agricultural research station (est. 1888). The university has a large collection of early American textiles.
The University of Rhode Island, commonly abbreviated as URI, is the principal public research university in the State of Rhode Island, with its main campus in Kingston, Rhode Island, and three other campuses located throughout the state. URI has 14,546 undergraduates and 4,549 graduate students. It is a land grant, sea grant, and urban grant institution.


The University was first chartered as the state's agricultural school in 1888. The site of the school was originally the Oliver Watson Farm, and the original farmhouse still lies on the campus today. In 1892, the school became the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The first class comprised only seventeen students, and they graduated two years later. In 1909, the school's name was again changed to Rhode Island State College and the school's programs expanded beyond its original mandate. In 1951, the college became the University of Rhode Island by an act of the General Assembly. The Board of Governors for Higher Education, appointed by the governor, became the governing body of the University in 1981.


The University of Rhode Island Department of Athletics and Recreation offers 22 intercollegiate sports (12 women and 10 for men) and 17 club sports programs. The university is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association, and the Colonial Athletic Association in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision for football. The wide range of athletic facilities include the Ryan Center, Keaney Gymnasium, Meade Stadium, Mackal Field House, Tootell Aquatic Center, Boss Ice Arena, URI Soccer Complex, Beck Field and URI Softball Field. Other facilities available for students include fitness rooms, indoor track, swimming and diving pools, twelve tennis courts, and two beach volleyball courts, among others.

The team colors are light blue (formerly officially referred to as "Keaney blue"), white and navy blue. The school's mascot is a ram. It was chosen in 1923 as tribute to the school's agricultural history. There has not been a live ram at the school since 1974, with "Rhody", a student in an anthropomorphic ram costume, roaming the sidelines in his place.

Fight Song

Original University of Rhode Islandight Song Circa 1922
We're Rhode Island born
We're Rhode Island bred
And when we die
We'll be Rhode Island dead

So go go Rhode Island, Island

go go Rhode Island, Island


U! R! I!

The fight song features a physical aspect as well as a vocal. To begin the fight song, students start with a slow clap that eventually stops when the words begin. At the end, the "U-R-I!" is emphasized by making a fist with the right hand. Then placing said fist on the left shoulder on "U," the right shoulder on "R," and is completed by throwing it up in the air on "I!"

Student Organizations

  • URI Student Alumni Association : A Student run organization that organizes many events on campus, as well as maintaining the Rhody the Ram Mascot Program. The Student Alumni Association is partially funded by the URI Alumni Association, and partially through organizational activities. It's most popular events include Homecoming, Rhody Rally, Survival Kits and Oozeball.

Other Student organizations are funded by the URI Student Senate, which is in turn funded by fees levied on all students. Prominent organizations are:

Greek Life

The University of Rhode Island also has an award-winning Greek System. The community was recognized by the Northeast Greek Leadership Association in February 2008 for excellence in Academic Achievement, Council Management, Membership Recruitment, Multicultural Initiatives, Public Relations, Risk Management and Panhellenic Continuous Open Bidding.

The Greek Community consists of 10 fraternities and 9 sororities. There are also 4 national organizations that have colonized over the past year.

Fraternities: Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Pi, Tau Epsilon Phi, and Zeta Beta Tau

Sororities: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Zeta, Phi Sigma Sigma, Sigma Delta Tau, Sigma Kappa, and Zeta Epsilon Tau Alpha

Colonies: Chi Phi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Mu, and Sigma Chi

The Greek Community is governed by the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council. Both organization, along with Greek Life administration are housed on campus in the Christopher House. Their website is

Traditions and trivia

  • A rifled cannon, fired by Andrew Hartman in the 19th century, burst on the Quadrangle during the ceremonies surrounding the chartering of the college in 1892. The school placed the barrel of said cannon, known as "Ben Butler", in a permanent mount, guarding the Quad.
  • Butterfield Dining and Residence Hall is referred to as "The Butt," a comical anatomical reference, or "Butters," a reference to the complimentary slang term popularized by hip-hop music.
  • Roger Williams Dining Hall (now closed) was referred to as "Ro-Jo's", a reference to the old Howard Johnson's restaurants.
  • Many off-campus students live "down the line" in Narragansett, neighborhoods such as Eastward Look, Scarborough Hills, Bonnet Shores, Narragansett Pier, and Great Island. This refers to the defunct Narragansett Pier Railroad line connecting the West Kingston train station to the down-the-line villages of Peace Dale, Wakefield and Narragansett Pier.
  • The University Library, the largest library in the State of Rhode Island, has over 1.2 million books and subscriptions to over 20,000 electronic journals.

Notable alumni



Arts and entertainment



  • Robert Ballard '75 PhD, '86 Hon., Oceanographer, discoverer of the RMS Titanic, Professor and Director of URI's Institute for Archaeological Oceanography,



  • Outside Providence shot its private school sequences at Green Hall, among other locations at the Kingston Campus.
  • Hard Luck was shot on the W. Alton Jones Campus.
  • Underdog shot some of its scenes at the Providence campus.
  • The Clique Movie shot its private school sequences at Green Hall
  • Hachiko: A Dog's Story, starring Richard Gere, shot pivotal scenes in Green Hall and the Fine Arts Center.

See also


External links

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