Monday, May 11, 2015

An Unprecedented Ribbon Cutting

May 6, 2015 will be a day long remembered and celebrated in the history of the University of Rhode Island. On that day a five-year journey involving advocacy, planning, and construction culminated in the grand opening of the Gender and Sexuality Center at URI. It was a day of hopes fulfilled, of faith realized, and hard work rewarded. It was a day of joy, of celebration, and of community. I believe that everyone who attended was inspired and convinced that the people of the University of Rhode Island, working together, can accomplish great things.
Click on the image to see more photos from the event.
The Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Rhode Island is the first “stand-alone”, specifically designed Center of its kind at a university in the United States. Its location on Upper College Road at the entrance to the Kingston campus makes a statement: the University of Rhode Island is determined to be a community, not simply an institution, where all are welcomed, affirmed, included, supported, and respected. The Center will certainly serve as a home on campus for the LGBTQ members of our community, but that is far from all. Its spaces and facilities will be open to everyone at URI and everyone will be welcome at events and activities sponsored by the Center. The role of the Center in creating and building a diverse community devoted to equity will be dramatically enhanced by the new and beautiful building that houses it. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit, please feel free to do so. It is a very welcoming place!
A lot of people, from all corners of the university and numerous external partners, worked with faith, dedication, and passion to make the new Center a reality. As time passed, hope never faded. Among all those involved, our students deserve the most praise and our lasting appreciation. Their advocacy, determination, and enthusiasm created and sustained the essential momentum that ensured success. They bring pride to the University of Rhode Island, and confidence in our future, because that future is in their hands. Their leadership has placed the University of Rhode Island in a position of national leadership, I believe. The student voices at the grand opening ceremony – those of Jessica Brand and Elizabeth Koller – were eloquent and inspirational, and wonderfully represented the commitment and aspirations of all the students who helped make the day of celebration a reality.
If you were not able to attend, here's a brief video that captures the highlights of this amazing event. Enjoy!