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Alumni Association honors four graduates, two volunteers
April 8, 2011
There are 57,000 graduates of the Community College of Rhode Island, many of whom live in the state and work to make it a better place.
Four of these alumni were honored for their contributions to the community when they were inducted into the CCRI Alumni Association’s Society of Knights on April 1.
The association inducted: Sen. Hanna M. Gallo ’76 ’81; George K. Loftus ’79, president and CEO of the nonprofit Ocean State Higher Education and Administrative Network (OSHEAN); Richard W. Rose ’82, assistant U.S. attorney; and Betty Anne Waters ’89, who put herself through law school to exonerate her wrongfully-imprisoned brother. Since then she has worked to free other wrongfully-convicted prisoners with the non-profit Innocence Project.
The CCRI Alumni Association also recognized Mary K. Baker and Jennifer Bramley as honorary alumni.
The awards were presented at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown during an induction ceremony attended by U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and state senators M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Beatrice Lanzi, Erin Lynch, Edward O’Neill, Rhoda Perry, Dominick Ruggerio, and V. Susan Sosnowski. View photos from the event.
The Society of Knights inductees received citations from Cicilline and U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse in recognition of their work on behalf of Rhode Island.
CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale said the inductees are joining the ranks of 39 Society of the Knights members who “live and work here and help make our state strong.”
He added, “I can’t tell you how proud we are to be able to call you a Society of Knights member and most importantly, an alum of the Community College of Rhode Island.”
CCRI Associate Vice President for Student Services Ronald Schertz presided over the induction ceremony as “Lord Schertz.” He touched a sword to the shoulders of each inductee in the medieval tradition.
The inductees recognized each other’s work and thanked CCRI’s faculty and staff for helping them to get started in their careers.
“For thousands of Rhode Islanders, the advantages afforded to us by higher education simply wouldn’t be possible without CCRI,” Gallo said.
Loftus said his years at CCRI were “foundational,” and gave him the skills he needed to eventually work with many of the people who were present for the ceremony.
Rose, drawing from his experience as a prosecutor, said education is a way to prevent people from turning to crime.
“It costs the state of Rhode Island $45,000 per year for every prisoner at the ACI,” he said. “It costs $3,800 to give someone an education at CCRI. That math is really easy.”
Waters said her successful legal battle to free her brother could not have started without CCRI.
“I never would have done any of that if it wasn’t for CCRI. They opened the door for my brother’s freedom,” she said. “Thank you, CCRI, for giving my brother his freedom.”
Following this ceremony, the honorary alumni were honored by CCRI Alumni Association President Joshua Klemp ’04.
“Seven years ago, the Alumni Association established honorary alumni status to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the college,” he said, adding that Baker and Bramley have exemplified this ideal.
“With their years of hard work and dedication to the community, they have brought great pride to the college,” he said.
Baker, who has worked at the college for 11 years, was recognized for her volunteerism during college events and her work with the CCRI Green Team, which promotes eco-friendly initiatives on CCRI’s campuses. She said that making friends with her co-workers inspired her to get involved.
Bramley has volunteered with the CCRI Alumni Association and Foundation since 2003 and her company, Bramley Communications, has contributed pro bono work for the college. Both of her parents are CCRI graduates and her mother returned to the college as a drama professor.