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College celebrates 50th anniversary of first day of classes with time capsule burial

Sept. 25, 2014

People lower the time capsule into the ground Michael Archetto, assistant building and grounds officer in the Physical Plant, and CCRI student Christopher Carbone lower the time capsule into the ground as Sondra Pitts ’66 and President Ray Di Pasquale look on.

It's not every day you get to honor the past, present and future all at once. The crowd of approximately 100 staff, students, faculty and invited guests assembled around the front of the Community College of Rhode Island's Knight Campus in Warwick got to do just that, though, on Sept. 24 as they bore witness to the burial of a time capsule commemorating the college's first 50 years.

"This is a very special day for CCRI," began President Ray Di Pasquale standing alongside alumna Sondra Pitts, a member of the first graduating class, CCRI Math Department Chairman Ed Madonna and Sol Solomon, a retired professor and former member of the Board of Governors for Higher Education. All have been involved with the college since its humble beginnings in a rented building on Promenade Street in Providence.

As part of the college's 50th anniversary year, members of the administration have been soliciting and collecting items from staff, faculty, students and alumni to represent the first half century of the college's history to put inside the time capsule. A weatherproofed, sealed container about the size of a briefcase, the time capsule contains items ranging from faculty nametags to athletics mementos to a tuition invoice from when the college was in its Rhode Island Junior College Days.

Michael Archetto, assistant building and grounds officer in the Physical Plant, supervised the loading and sealing process, during which oxygen was removed from the capsule and replaced with argon gas, which will help to preserve the items for the next 50 years. The capsule, now buried, is marked with a commemorative plaque and set to be unearthed on Sept. 24, 2064.

"Not many of us will be around then," said Di Pasquale before pulling student Christopher Carlone of Johnston from the crowd. "But I'm making Christopher promise to come back."

Carlone, 19 and in his first semester at the college, helped Archetto lower the capsule into the ground. "Education is so important," he said after the ceremony, "and this clearly means a lot to people. I told the president I'd mark down the date in my calendar."

Di Pasquale led a period of reflection to remember those who have come before, and Pitts briefly addressed the crowd before helping to shovel the first mounds of dirt onto the capsule with gold-painted shovels. Di Pasquale then invited any guest to take part in the ceremonial burial.

"We're celebrating 50 years of really making a difference in students' lives, helping them to get to where they want to go. Think of the power of that," said Di Pasquale.

Across the street, guests gathered around a gleaming cherry red 1964 Thunderbird convertible owned by Tech Support Specialist Gregory Marrocco, who drove his prized possession in for the occasion.

View a gallery of photographs from the event online.


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Last Updated: 8/25/16