U.S. Sen. Jack Reed visits CCRI

President Di Pasquale gives senator campus tour, Sept. 8, 2010

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed shakes hands with CCRI students Laura Rijo (right) and Bill McKenna at the Knight Campus in Warwick.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed visited the Community College of Rhode Island Knight Campus in Warwick during the college’s first day of classes on Sept. 7. He met with CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale to discuss the economy, the mission of the college and the challenges it faces. Afterwards, Reed toured the campus with the president’s leadership team and frequently stopped to chat with students.

“Thank you for what you do,” Reed told the assembled faculty and administrators before the tour. “All the work we do in Washington doesn’t mean anything unless students can learn and find good counsel.”

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (right) and CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale (center), along with members of the college's administrative team, tour the biology labs at the Knight Campus in Warwick.

The longest stop of the tour was at the college’s biology labs, which are in need of renovations, including better ventilation and larger prep rooms for experiments. Reed said that funding for scientific studies is critical, especially in the Ocean State and given the recent ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He said that today’s students must have a strong scientific education in order to meet the problems of tomorrow.

In the biology labs, Reed paused to chat with students Bill McKenna, an English major who hopes to attend the University of Rhode Island after CCRI, and Laura Rijo, a freshman.

“It was great to meet the Senator, it’s really cool that he came to visit us,” Rijo said.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (left) and CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale pause before a welcome message to the senator at the new Hall of Fame information kiosk located on the second floor entrance at the Knight Campus in Warwick.

Reed seemed equally pleased to meet CCRI’s students, and he said their passion makes CCRI’s commencement his favorite one to attend in Rhode Island.

“This is my favorite graduation to go to,” Reed said. “…the unbridled pride and joy of both the students and their families is heartwarming.”

Reed was able to spend about an hour at CCRI before returning to other business. “We want him to go back to Washington understanding what the college is doing and what our challenges are,” Di Pasquale said.

“Senator Reed gets it,” Di Pasquale added. “He understands, he’s a Rhode Islander. He’s passionate and he cares, and he came for those very reasons.”

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