Rhode Island politicians loved showing their support for the URI Rams as they made a memorable run in this year’s NCAA Tournament. But only a few of them felt the sting of seeing an Alma mater come within seconds of advancing to the Sweet 16. About 18 percent of elected officials in Rhode Island went to the University of Rhode Island.
None of our four congressmen went to URI. Senator Jack Reed went to West Point, and then Harvard Law. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse went to Yale, and then the University of Virginia for law school. Both Rhode Island congressmen stayed in state for college. Jim Langevin went to Rhode Island College, then Harvard, and David Cicilline went to Brown, then Georgetown.
And none of Rhode Island’s statewide elected officers attended URI either. Governor Gina Raimondo went to Harvard, Oxford and then Yale. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea went to Princeton and then Columbia. Treasurer Seth Magaziner went to Brown then Yale. Lt. Governor Dan McKee went to Assumption College in nearby Worcester, Mass. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin got his undergraduate degree from Roger Williams College and his law degree from Roger Williams University, with the latter coming after the school changed its name, and added a law school.
The nine congressional and statewide office holders have at least 19 college degrees among them, and only five of them were obtained in Rhode Island. Not a one is from URI.
The situation is a little better for URI in the General Assembly, where 19 percent of the 113 lawmakers attended URI. The Senate is decidedly the more Ram-friendly chamber – 10 of 38 Senators have URI degrees, and Sen. Hanna Gallo has two! In the 75 member House of Representatives, only 12 legislators attended URI, seven were undergrads in Kingston and five have masters.
The highest ranking URI alum in the state legislator is Rep. Charlene Lima, of Cranston, the deputy speaker – the fifth highest (or second lowest) leadership position in the House. In the Senate, no members of the leadership team attended URI. House Speaker Nick Mattiello went to Boston College and then Suffolk Law School and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed went to Providence College and the Catholic University for law school.
URI grads have their Keaney blue fingerprints all over the annual state budget, with both finance committee chairmen having degrees. Senate Finance Committee Chair Dan DaPonte, of East Providence, went as an undergrad and House Finance Committee Chair Marvin Abney, of Newport, has a master’s in business administration from URI.
There are 5 Senate committees whose chairs attended URI, in the House only two. Senator Elaine Morgan is the only Republican with a degree from URI. Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere went to PC and House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan went to Kent State.
Here’s a full list of the legislators who attended the University of Rhode Island:
- Daniel Da Ponte, East Providence, Finance Committee Chairman
- Hanna Gallo, Cranston, Education Committee Chairwoman(undergrad and masters)
- Joshua Miller, Cranston, Health & Human Services Committee Chairman
- Susan Sosnowski, South Kingstown, Environment & Agriculture Committee Chairwoman
- Roger Picard, Woonsocket, Commerce Committee Chairman
- Marc Cote, Woonsocket
- Cynthia Coyne, Barrington
- Paul Jabour, Providence,
- Elaine Morgan, Exeter
- James Sheehan, North Kingstown
House of Representatives
- Charlene Lima, Cranston, Deputy Speaker
- Marvin Abney, Finance Committee Chairman (masters)
- Bob Craven, North Kingstown, Labor Committee Chairman
- Shelby Maldonado, Central Falls
- Carlos Tobon, Pawtucket
- Jared Nunes, Coventry.
- Lauren Carson, Newport (masters)
- Carol Hagen McEntee, South Kingstown
- Jeremiah O’Grady, Lincoln (masters)
- Bob Phillips, Woonsocket
- David Coughlin, Pawtucket (masters)
- Camille Vella-Wilkinson, Warwick (masters)
Ed note: Thanks to House Spokesman Larry Berman (URI) and Senate Spokesman Greg Pare (RIC) for helping me compile this!