|Roger Williams Junior College (1956–1967)|
Roger Williams College (1967–1992)
|Motto||Magna Est Veritas|
|Endowment||$80.4 million (2020)|
|489 (207 full-time, 282 part-time, 205 tenured or tenure-track)|
|165 (full-time, as of 2011), 3,578 total employees (as of 2014)|
|Students||~4,000 undergraduate, 741 graduate|
|Campus||Suburban, 140 waterfront acres|
|Colors||Royal Blue, Gold, & White|
Roger Williams University (RWU) is a private university in Bristol, Rhode Island. Founded in 1956, it was named for theologian and Rhode Island cofounder Roger Williams. The school enrolls over 5,000 students and employs over 480 academic staff.
The university’s operations date to 1919, when Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, opened a branch campus in the YMCA building in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1940, the YMCA board of directors began directing the school, and the YMCA Institute granted its first associate's degrees in 1948. In 1956, the institute received a state charter to become a two-year, degree-granting institution under the name of Roger Williams Junior College.
During the 1960s, the school began granting bachelor's degrees, and–in 1967–it subsequently adopted a new, shorter name: Roger Williams College. Needing a larger campus, the college purchased 80 acres (32 ha) of waterfront land and moved its main campus to Bristol in 1969. (RWU continues to operate a branch campus in Providence.) In 1989 new president Dr. Natale A. Sicuro initiated the Roger Williams Plan for the 1990s, and became concurrently the president of the newly established Roger Williams School of Law and, in 1992, led the name change of Roger Williams College to Roger Williams University. RWU celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006.
Ioannis Miaoulis was appointed the eleventh president of Roger Williams University in 2019. Miaoulis previously served as both the president and director of the Boston Museum of Science since 2003 and brings a STEM philosophy to the university as he seeks to guide the university's mission and commitment in providing education through community-engaged learning and civic scholarship.
In 2012, Roger Williams University initiated a tuition freeze in which all entering freshmen would have a guarantee that their tuition would not increase for the next four years. The university renewed this promise for all freshmen entering in fall of 2015. As a result of this program, enrollment at the university has been steadily increasing, while enrollment at many peer institutions has been decreasing. In 2019, the university terminated this policy.
Roger Williams University enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and 850 graduate students in eight schools. These schools offer more than 50 liberal arts majors and professional degrees, such as law, architecture, construction management, and historic preservation. The university has a student to faculty ratio of 14:1 while almost half of the classes offered have less than 20 students.
The largest majors are business, management, and marketing (24%); architecture (10%); security, law enforcement, and related protective services (9%); communication and journalism (8%); and psychology (7%).
Roger Williams University has several degree programs that are unique:
- Marine Biology program: offers a B.S. in Marine Biology, which is one of about fifteen in the country.
- Architecture program: One of a few M. Arch. (Master’s of Architecture) in a traditional liberal arts environment.
- Historic Preservation program: the B.S. in Historic Preservation is one of seven offered in the country and the M.S. in Historic Preservation is one of about 35 offered in the country.
- Construction Management program: offers a B.S. in Construction Management (CM). RWU's Construction Management program is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) and a member of ASC's Northeast Region (Region 1).
- Law program: Only Juris Doctor available in Rhode Island; offers a Master of Studies in Law (MSL).
Approximately 63% of students live on campus. 88% of the students attend school full-time. About 14% have a family income of less than $40k. 75% of the student population is white, 5% is Hispanic, and 2% is African American; less than 1% of the students are from other races or ethnicities.
The university's campus newspaper, The Hawks' Herald, publishes approximately 20 issues per academic year. An FM radio station, WQRI 88.3, plays everything from college alternative to hip hop. The college's 20 varsity athletic teams play at the Division III level as members of the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Clock tower of University Library
School of Engineering
RWU Commons Dining Hall
Gabelli School of Business
School of Marine and Natural Sciences
RWU School of Law
On September 21, 2017, music icons The Beach Boys were honored by Roger Williams University, and music historians Al Gomes and Connie Watrous of Big Noise, and plaques were unveiled to commemorate the band's concert on September 22, 1971 at the university's Baypoint Inn & Conference Center in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The 1971 concert was the first-ever appearance of South African Ricky Fataar as an official member of the band and Filipino Billy Hinsche as a touring member, essentially changing the Beach Boys' live and recording act's line-up into a multi-racial group. Diversity is a credo of Roger Williams University, which is why the school chose to celebrate this moment in the band's history.
Roger Williams University teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III aside from the co-ed sailing team, which is Division I and is currently ranked number six in the sailing world's college rankings. Most of the Hawks are a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), except for the swimming and diving team, who compete in the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA).
Men's sports include:
- Cross country
- Swimming & diving
- Track & field
Women's sports include:
- Cross country
- Field hockey
- Swimming & diving
- Track & field
Co-ed sports include:
The university does not have a track and field and therefore uses the nearby Portsmouth High School facility in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Reputation and campus culture
The university established a program in civil discourse, including the journal Reason and Respect, which brought in speakers such as Salman Rushdie, David Gergen, First Minister and Nobel Prize–winner David Trimble, Khaled Hosseini, author of Kite Runner, Bob Geldof of Live Aid, and others to campus. The university has established campuses in London and Florence; collaborates with sister institutions in France, Brazil, Vietnam, and Hong Kong; features a broad portfolio of study-abroad opportunities encompassing over 30 countries; and is home to a Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy, which brings together engineering, architecture, technology, economic development, and international relations for a common purpose. Furthermore, it was recently recognized as a non-governmental member of the United Nations.
Notable faculty members and alumni
- Tim Baxter, '83 chairman of the board, former president and CEO, Samsung Electronics North America
- Adam Braver, writer
- Roberto DaSilva, first mayor of East Providence, Rhode Island
- Jason Mattera, conservative blogger and writer.
- James W. Nuttall, United States Army major general who served as deputy director of the Army National Guard and deputy commander of the First Army
- Joe Polisena, former member of the Rhode Island State Senate and mayor of Johnston, Rhode Island
- Jerry Remy, Former Boston Red Sox broadcaster and MLB player
- Chris Sparling, screenwriter and director
- June Speakman, member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
- Bob Wiley, former NFL offensive line coach
- As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- "U.S. College Staffing Changes". WGBH.org. WGBH. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- "GuideStar Report Generated For: Roger Williams University & Roger Williams College of Law". Guidestar. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- "History & Traditions". rwu.edu. Roger Williams University. Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "Ex-Boston museum chief to take the helm at Roger Williams". The Providence Journal.
- "Affordable Excellence". Roger Williams University. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Roger Williams University grows enrollment by freezing tuition". The Providence Journal. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Roger Williams University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Roger Williams University". College Scorecard. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Marine Biology Web". Stonybrook University. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
- "NAAB schools". National Architectural Accrediting Board. Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
- "NCPE Academic Programs". National Council for Preservation Education. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
- "Fast Facts". Roger Williams University. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "The Hawks' Herald". thehawksherald.com. Roger Williams University.
- McGaw, Jim (September 17, 2017). "Friday, Sept. 22 will be 'Beach Boys Day' in Portsmouth". The Portsmouth Times/Rhody Beat.
- "The Beach Boys / Roger Williams University Plaque" (PDF). September 21, 2017.
- "Official Athletics Website". Roger Williams University Athletics. June 24, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
- "Board of Trustees". www.rwu.edu.
- "Jerry Remy Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "June Speakman".