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US Labor Secretary & WaterFire’s Evans to Speak at RWU Commencement

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Barnaby Evans PHOTO: Waterfire.org

Roger Williams University has announced that Waterfire creator Barnaby Evans will give the commencement address to the class of 2016 and receive an honorary doctorate from the university during the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14. 

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the University's main athletic field at the Bristol Campus located at One Old Ferry Road. 

“In what has been a year of transformation for Roger Williams University, with our increased commitment to Providence and urban Rhode Island, it is an honor to recognize three individuals whose contributions to the revitalization of Providence during the last three decades personify a commitment to improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders. As a university whose core purpose is to strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning, we look to these honorees as examples of how innovation is achieved through collaboration and community engagement,” said University President Donald J. Farish. 

The school also announced that U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will deliver the Law School address and be awarded an honorary degree at the Roger Williams University School of Law Ceremony. 

The  law school ceremony will begin at 1 p.m on Friday, May 13 on the University's main athletic field. 

For more information on both ceremonies, click here. 


Related Slideshow: Sensible Advice to the Class of 2015

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Charles Bakst, 71, Providence, retired Providence Journal political columnist. 

“Stand for something and act upon it.Don’t assume someone else already has done it or will do it.  Work to advance yourself but remember there are plenty of people, even right here in Rhode Island, who have not had the advantages you’ve had. They could use a break too. Help them.”

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Dave Barber, 60, East Greenwich, Reporter Capitol Television RI State House.

 “It’s attitude, not aptitude that will determine your altitude.  There is nothing that will serve you better in the future than a positive mental attitude.  There are two days in life that never exist; yesterday and tomorrow. Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery. Live in the moment. Exercise gratitude and kindness in all that you do because there has never been a statue erected of a critic.”

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Rick Roth, 61, Cambridge, MA, Owner of Mirror Image. 

“Read because if you don’t know anything you are no good to yourself or anybody else and reading is the key to gaining knowledge.  When you are talking (particularly about yourself) you can’t listen. You learn by listening. Try to make the world a better place Pursuit of money is an empty pursuit and will leave you unhappy and dissatisfied.”

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Scott A. Davis, 58, Eastside, Owner of the Rhode Island Antique Mall.

“In today’s age of information, simply having knowledge is not worth much.  The secret to success in the future will not lie so much in what you know, but in your ability to synthesize information, whether already known or newly acquired, and to draw insightful and valuable conclusions from it.”

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Scott Rotondo, 41, Pawtucket, accountant at Tivoli Audio. 

“Always be willing to expand your intellectual toolbox. Challenge the way things are done, and your own beliefs from time to time. Take in other people’s opposing points of view not with rancor and disdain but with dignity and respect.”

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Lisa A. Proctor, 55, East Providence, healer/counselor. 

“You can not necessarily say all things are possible with God because many do not believe, but I would say a lot of situations we find ourselves in heal when we live honestly, purely, committed and have a merciful and compassionate heart towards others.”

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Rudy Cheeks, 65, a musician and columnist of Motif, Providence.

“If you can find what you love and make it the center of your life, you’re doing good and will likely be happy. Whatever you do, “building community” should be an element in your life. Meet your responsibilities (e.g. if you want to create your own family, make sure you are ready for it and committed to it). When you become an “active consumer,” be a smart and thoughtful consumer.”

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Kathy Needham, 53, Rumford, Controller, of Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call. 

“Follow this old adage, “Autograph your work with excellence, it is a signature of who you are." Take great pride in all you do but always remember to be humble. Know that success is a personal goal.”

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Gayle L. Gifford, 61, Providence, a strategy consultant to nonprofits.

“Be an informed citizen of the world.  Read quality news from home and abroad.  Travel. Look. Hear. Participate to create the community you want your children and grandchildren to live in. Hopefully that community is one of justice, peace and inclusion. Don’t work all day in a job that destroys what you value. Play outside.”

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Crystal R. Parifitt, 41, Pawtucket, Owner of  FurBabies, a small pet salon.

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Nancy Thomas, Cranston, President of Tapestry Communications. 

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Barbara Peters, Newport, former AARP RI Communications Director.

“Life is full of successes and disappointments. When we are young we tend to “cry” when the material things we want don’t immediately come our way. Forget the disappointments and concentrate on your successes. Nobody will hand you what you think you deserve.  [Only] hard work, dedication to your craft and sensitivity to the feelings of others will bring the rewards to you that are truly deserved.”

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Cheryl Babiec, Pawtucket, Pawtucket School Teacher.

“As an old saying goes….’One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure’ continues to hold true with the test of time. One of my yard sale “finds” had the following inspirational verse (though the author is unknown):‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.’”


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