– Timeline

Changing lives for 50 years.

1962 – The Board of Trustees of State Colleges authorized the establishment of the first state-operated junior college at the University of Rhode Island Extension Building in Providence in November. Board members pictured (clockwise from top left) are Edward P. Travers, Albert J. Hoban, Dr. Harold W. Browning, Dr. William P. Robinson Jr., Hugo R. Mainelli, Georgette V. Ramos and George W. Kelsey. Director of Graduate Studies at Rhode Island College and soon-to-be RIJC president William F. Flanagan (seated at left) was a key administrator who sat on the advisory committee that planned the development of the new junior college.

1964 – Dr. William F. Flanagan served as the first president of Rhode Island Junior College, the state's only public, two-year institution. He oversaw the college's growth in enrollment from 325 students to 9,000 at his retirement in 1978.

1964 – Rhode Island Junior College opened its doors on Sept. 24 with a registration and orientation period at its temporary headquarters on Promenade Street in Providence. Classes began on Sept. 28.

1965 – The first Rhode Island Junior College Senate and student government was formed and charged with building unity between classes and between students and administration. The elected representatives served annual terms.

1965 – The Shielders, a student service organization that organized events and supported community organizations, was formed early in the 1965-66 academic year. Shielders sponsored dances and other activities and remained a presence on campus until 1976.

1965 – Royal Webster Knight gave 80 acres to Rhode Island Junior College on Oct. 7 to serve as the first permanent site of the community college in Warwick. Knight, a private, modest person who was known for his charitable contributions, was a classmate of President John F. Kennedy at The Choate School in Wallingford, Conn.

1965 – The first RIJC men's basketball team won 11 games and lost six in the 1965-66 season. The team played its home games at Rhode Island College's Whipple Gymnasium until the construction of the Knight Campus. Longtime coach Vin Cullen won 711 games in his career.

1966 – The college's planning committee reviews a site map and structural details of the first new permanent site of Rhode Island Junior College. The committee, along with Perkins & Will, presented the master plan to the Board of Trustees, the Board of Education, state officials and the public in May. The one-building campus, also known as the megastructure, was considered to be a controversial design at the time and was not officially approved by the Board of Trustees until January 1967.

1966 – The college's Nursing program was established. In its first year, Rhode Island Junior College had offered general, technical and vocational programs as well as programs in business administration and paramedical fields that led to the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees.

1966 – Rhode Island Junior College's Class of 1966, the college's first graduates, gathers for a group photo in front of the State House.

1967 – The Pi Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national junior college honor society, was formed. Each year, graduating members are honored at the Gold Tassel Luncheon during commencement week activities.

1972 – Postcard commemorating the opening of the Knight Campus.

1973 – The dedication ceremony for the Rhode Island Junior College Knight Campus is held on Feb. 12, and attended by more than 700 people. The event program included a centerfold of photos and a list of facts about the institution on the back cover.

1974 – Title IX promised female collegiate athletes the same opportunities that men had long enjoyed, and women's varsity sports began appearing on campuses across the country during the early 1970s. Women's basketball made its debut at RIJC in 1974–75 and was coached by Bruce Bennett (back row).

1976The Blackstone Valley Campus in Lincoln opened in September. Serving the northern portion of the state, RIJC's second campus was located on 300 acres and fulfilled an increasing demand for space. After President Flanagan's retirement in 1978, the campus was named in his honor.

1976 – In the 1975-76 Annual Report of the President, the Dean of Students Office reported that, "More than ever clubs are being formed in our diverse student population around program interests." Radio RIJC was one such club that grew in popularity.

1978 – Edward J. Liston became the college's second president and served in that role for 22 years. He established the nonprofit CCRI Foundation, expanded course offerings to satellite locations and oversaw the opening of the Providence campus.

1980 – On June 26, the Board of Regents voted unanimously to change the name of Rhode Island Junior College to Community College of Rhode Island, marking a new decade and a new beginning for the state's community college, as reported in the Summer 1980 issue of RIJC's Knightly News.

1989 – The college began its 25th anniversary celebration in September and commemorated the occasion with special events and galas throughout the academic year. Included was a special State House event (above) where President Liston was presented with a proclamation from Gov. Edward DiPrete.

1990 – The Providence campus opened in September. Situated on 7 acres, the urban campus made higher education more accessible to inner-city residents, a fundamental mission of community colleges nationwide. Upon President Liston's retirement in 2000, the campus was named in his honor.

1994 – In October, in celebration of the college's 30th anniversary, the CCRI Foundation created the CCRI Hall of Fame to honor individuals who have made substantial contributions to the mission and evolution of the college. Pictured are 1996 inductee John Howell, 1994 inductee Lucy Medeiros and President Liston. The Hall of Fame has 41 members.

1999 – The Society of the Knights Outstanding Alumni Awards were established as a means of recognizing alumni. They are presented to CCRI alumni who have been active as community leaders, attained personal and professional success, provided volunteer service to the college community, and have brought honor upon themselves and the Community College of Rhode Island. To date, 51 individuals have been honored.

2000 – Tom Sepe served as CCRI's third president from 2000 to 2006.

2002 – CCRI's women's soccer team captured the college's first team national championship, defeating Monroe in the final, 3-2. The Lady Knights, a perennial Region XXI power and coached by Dennis Grassini, finished the season with a perfect 22-0-0 record.

2005 – CCRI opened its fourth main campus in September on Aquidneck Island. The Newport County Campus serves the southern portion of Rhode Island as well as the East Bay.

2007Ray Di Pasquale was inaugurated as CCRI's fourth president on March 23. Since Di Pasquale arrived at CCRI, the college has enjoyed near-record enrollments. Under his direction, the college has added numerous programs and courses, instituted energy cost-saving projects, expanded career pathway programs, been the recipient of numerous federal grants and focused on adult learners.

2008 – Led by President Di Pasquale, CCRI launched its first Capital Campaign. The Imagine campaign raised more than $5 million and the monies were used toward much-needed renovations at the college's older campuses.

2000-2014CCRI's athletic program has enjoyed unprecedented success since 2000. The women's soccer team won a national championship in 2002 and returned to the finals in 2003, men's basketball played for the national championship in 2012, baseball participated in the college World Series in 2012 and runner Bobby Allen captured five national championships from 2011–13.

2009-2012 – Under President Di Pasquale's leadership, a record number of badly needed capital projects have been scheduled and completed. The libraries in Warwick, Lincoln and Providence; the theater in Warwick; the dental lab in Lincoln and athletic fields are among the facilities that have been refurbished. In addition, the college's heating and electric systems have been upgraded in Warwick and Lincoln, saving CCRI more than $1 million per year in utility costs.

2013Commencement has always been a special time at CCRI. The first graduating class consisted of 125 students in 1966, while May 2013 saw 2,101 graduates, the college’s largest graduating class ever. Nearly 18,000 students enroll at CCRI each fall.

2013 – The newly refurbished Bobby Hackett Theater at the Knight Campus reopened in spring 2013. Cutting the ribbon with President Di Pasquale is Professor Emeritus Lloyd Kaplan, who taught in the Music program.

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