R.I. Senate/House Salutes RIC – RIC Commends Alumni Legislators

From left, RIC President Frank D. Sánchez presents citation to Sen. Harold Metts, a RIC alumnus

From left, RIC President Frank D. Sánchez presents citation to Sen. Harold Metts, a RIC alumnus


May 3 became “RIC Day” at the State House. In the reception room of the Rhode Island State House, RIC President Frank D. Sánchez presented citations to alumni legislators for their leadership and commitment to service in the State of Rhode Island. Recipients were:

  • Sen. Harold Metts of District 6 in Providence.
  • Sen. Roger Picard of District 20 in Woonsocket.
  • Sen. Leonidas Raptakis of District 33 in Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick and West Warwick.
  • Sen. Adam J. Satchell of District 9 in West Warwick.
  • Sen. James Seveney of District 11 in Bristol and Portsmouth.
  • Rep. David Bennett of District 20 in Warwick.
  • Rep. Susan Donovan of District 69 in Bristol and Portsmouth.
  • Rep. Robert Lancia of District 16 in Cranston.
  • Rep. John Lombardi of District 8 in Providence.
  • Rep. Mary Duffy Messier of District 62 in East Providence and Pawtucket.
  • Rep. Patricia Morgan of District 26 in Coventry, Warwick and West Warwick.
  • Rep. William O’Brien of District 54 in North Providence.
  • Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell of District 5 in Providence.

Reflecting back on how Rhode Island College helped lay the foundation for her work in the General Assembly, Duffy Messier ’77, who earned an M.Ed. degree in elementary education and went on to teach for 35 years in Cumberland, noted that her education at RIC and her work as a teacher helped her understand problems surrounding health, education and welfare – the focus of much of Rhode Island legislation.

Metts ’83 was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning his undergraduate degree at Roger Williams and his M.Ed. in educational administration at RIC. While completing his master’s degree, Metts worked with first-generation Upward Bound and PEP students in a counseling capacity. He remarked that he understands the barriers underrepresented populations face, coming from a poor family himself.

“I don’t like the word politician,” he said, in describing his role in the General Assembly. “I consider myself a public servant. I became a senator in order to be a voice, to look out for the least in society.”

“The fact that we have so many alumni represented in Rhode Island’s state legislature speaks to the strong connection our college has with the state,” Sánchez noted. “I am proud to recognize and thank these individuals for their leadership and for representing their alma mater well as they serve the people of Rhode Island.”

Following the granting of citations, the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives met in their respective chambers, each passing a resolution, recognizing and congratulating Rhode Island College’s Class of 2017, its alumni and its new president.

The resolution reads:

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island College was established by the General Assembly in 1854 as the Rhode Island Normal School, just the eighth such postsecondary teacher education institution in the United States; which in 1920 was renamed Rhode Island College of Education and granted the authority to confer baccalaureate degrees and to establish a master’s level program in education; which in 1960 was given an expanded mission of becoming the state’s urban-based comprehensive college, with programs in the arts and sciences in addition to professional studies; and

      WHEREAS, during the course of its 163 years, the college has conferred over 64,000 baccalaureate and advanced degrees and certificates, who will be joined later this month by approximately 1,600 individuals, increasing the ranks of Rhode Island College alumni; and

     WHEREAS, the college today offers over 100 majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels, many of which have numerous opportunities for specialization; and

      WHEREAS, 69 percent of the college’s degree recipients are Rhode Island residents, which is by far the highest percentage of state residents receiving degrees at any of the baccalaureate-granting colleges and universities in Rhode Island; and 

     WHEREAS, an institutional research study of the Rhode Island College graduating class of 2013 found that of those employed one year after graduation, two thirds were employed in Rhode Island; and

     WHEREAS, the college has welcomed new leadership in the person of Dr. Frank D. Sánchez, originally of Wyoming but more recently Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs at the City University of New York (CUNY), whose parents were, like 44 percent of the students at Rhode Island College, first-generation college students; and

     WHEREAS, President Sánchez will, on May 13, preside over his first baccalaureate and advanced degree commencement convocations; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, that this Senate/House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby recognizes and congratulates President Sánchez, the members of the Rhode Island College Class of 2017, and all of the college’s loyal alumni; and be it further

     RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to Dr. Frank D. Sánchez, President of Rhode Island College.

“I am honored to accept this resolution on behalf of Rhode Island College,” said Sánchez. “This recognition speaks to the invaluable contributions the college has made to the state of Rhode Island. I look forward to continuing our strong partnership with state leadership and preparing our graduates, most of whom stay in the state after graduation, to drive Rhode Island’s economy.”