Remembrances of the Community College of Rhode Island

David PattenFull Circle

David Patten
Former student and current employee

1982 - In the Spring of 1982, I was a full-time CCRI student. It was my first exposure to college level academics. One of the classes was a broadcast on television, which was high-tech at the time. This experience instilled a love of learning which continues to this day. I went on to URI, Providence College and Salve Regina University. Now I work at CCRI and enjoy seeing students achieve academic success nurtured by caring staff and faculty.

Step Forward

Chayenne Chin '09
Former student

2008 - Coming to CCRI changed my life and inspired me to continue my education at Bryant University. One of my favorite classes was Intro to Accounting with Professor Squizzero. He was an excellent professor which made topics clear and easy to understand. He encouraged me to transfer after finishing my studies here. My best memories were tutoring Accounting in the success center. It was a privilege to be able to tutor other students and help them along the way of their educational journey. One of my students said to me "I don't know what I would do without you." I felt I made a difference in his life. My time here will always be special to me. I am glad I got a chance to make new friends and learn from real world professors.

From 1964 to present

Anthony Spinella '66
Former student

1964 - The summer of 1964 I was accepted to the first class of RIJC.  It saved me from being drafted.  Two years of college prep work and a continued liking to the field of chemistry saw the graduation from junior college in 1966 with an associates degree in science.

At that point, did not wait for the draft, enlisted into the Air Force (summer of 1966).  Basic training at Lackland AFB (San Antonio), tech school in Denver (Lowery AFB) and then stationed at McChord AFB (Tacoma, Washington) for two years.  In 1969 was reassigned to Comox Air Station on Vancouver Island in British Columbia (Canada) as part of NATO.  In June 1970, was discharged.

While in my last months of service, was accepted into the University of Denver's chemistry program. It was here I also started to play rugby for the school team. Graduated with a BS in Chemistry in 1973.  Just before graduation, was hired by Eastman Kodak as a chemist at their Colorado Division plant in Windsor.  Moved to Fort Collins and started my job.  Also played rugby with the Colorado State University (CSU) team.  Married Blossom Allen in 1975.  First knee injury in 1976.  Started to coach CSU rugby in 1976 also (as a hobby). Second knee injury in 1978. Laid off from Eastman Kodak in 1979. 

In 1979, was hired by Santa Barbara Research Center (SBRC) as a chemist/reliability engineer.  Moved to Goleta, California.  Was divorced in 1979 but stayed in California to continue work at SBRC in the infrared detector field.  These detectors were used in satellites. While there also received an MS in Systems Management degree from USC.  Also coached UC Santa Barbara men (1981-1987) and women (1980) in rugby. In 1986 was laid off from SBRC. 

It took a while to find another job.  In 1987 was hired by Rockwell International's Rocketdyne Division as a chemist.  The plant was located in Canoga Park, California (San Fernando Valley area). Rocketdyne made rocket engines for the space shuttle as well as liquid fuel engines for most of the rockets for satellite launches. Worked in the chemistry lab at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.  This is the location where the rocket engines were tested before that function was moved to the Stennis facility (in Mississippi) in the late 1990s.  Did various chemical analysis on rocket fuels as well as testing water and soil for residual contaminants.  Also did material testing of the engine components.

Coached rugby  at UCLA (1987-1988) and at Eagle Rock Athletic Club (1989-2002). Became a USA Rugby Youth Development Officer in 2000 and helped develop the sport in youngsters in the Southern California, Arizona and southern Nevada region to 2010.  Married Brenda Ignarro in 1989. 

Retired from Rocketdyne in 2009.  Presently still living in Southern California (Santa Barbara now. Moved there August 2013 from the San Fernando Valley). Visit my brother who still lives in RI as often as I can. 

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Congratulations on 50 years!!!

Gerry Anger '66
Former student

I was in the first graduating class in 1966 when it was called RIJC, and I was an active member of "Shielders," which was the only organization on campus.  After attending RIJC, I continued my education but never did receive my Bachelor's degree due to life and family getting in the way.

I have since gone onto starting two companies and two families.  I have a son who is 45 years old and a daughter who is 19.  My son is a college graduate from Fairley Dickinson in NJ and my daughter is a sophomore at Central Michigan University.

Although I would love to attend RICC functions, my location in Michigan makes that somewhat difficult.  Please keep the updates coming.

Once again, thank you for a good start to my working career.

Maureen McGarryPresident Ed Liston & NEASC

Maureen McGarry
Dean of Health & Rehabilitative Sciences

In 1992 President Liston contacted me and suggested I attend a session offered by NEASC to become a site visitor. Being very interested in specialty accreditation I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to learn about the regional accreditation process. The week before my initial visit with a team assigned a Massachusetts College, I learned that President Liston had just been contacted to chair the team due to the illness of the original chair. What a wonderful experience to see Ed in a different role. He was a wonderful mentor! It was also a challenge as I wanted to be sure to do my best as he had nominated me to become a NEASC visitor.

My Interview with Catherine Ott

Paul Blocklyn
Community member

In the fall of 1975, I was completing a second Master's degree in English at Brown University and looking forward to what I hoped would be a long career in academia. I sent out resumes to all of the local colleges and universities in Rhode Island in hopes of picking up some part-time teaching experience to start me out on my career. The only person who responded to me was Professor Catherine Ott, who at that time was head of the English Department at what at that time was still know as Rhode Island Junior College. There were no openings in the department at that time, but Professor Ott graciously granted me a courtesy interview. She listened to my idealistic proclamations about teaching and tempered my enthusiasm with seasoned wisdom. I never taught at RIJC, but I did go on to teach part time at Providence College and later at The University of Connecticut and many other colleges and universities. I am grateful to Professor Ott for listening to me and taking me seriously at a very early stage of my career.

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