The Centennial Walk is a seemingly commonplace pathway on the URI Quad that is often overlooked by the students and faculty who tread upon it every day. However, the pathway is more than just a mere collection of red bricks; it is saturated with University history.
The installation of the Centennial Walk dates back to 1993, with a dedication ceremony at Homecoming of ‘93. It was created with intent to permanently commemorate members of the URI community who have made significant contributions to the university. Each brick is inscribed with a specific commemoration. Funds from the walkway benefit scholarships, student development programs, and alumni programs supported by the URI Alumni Association.
Each of the 3,500 bricks that compose the Centennial Walk displays a unique inscription. Some recognize groups such as alumni chapters, reunion classes, fraternities, and sororities; others acknowledge individual students and faculty members. One such brick recognizes Professor Albert Silverstein, a retired psychology professor at URI. At the age of 3, Silverstein survived the Holocaust when he was sent away from his parents to England. A long-time member of the URI faculty, he often returns to the University to share his journey of survival.
In another area on the Centennial Walk, there is a row of several bricks which comprise a mesmerizing poem entitled “A Friendly Wave.” The poem was written by the late Chester ‘Chet’ Wellington Ham Jr., a Liberal Arts graduate who served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. His work conveys the importance of a simple wave, a small but meaningful act.
Other bricks acknowledge students who not only made an impact at URI, but on society as a whole. An example of this is the brick honoring Kenneth Bradford Goff, Sr, who was a student at URI and went on to become a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 89.
These bricks, as well as all of the others, are physical manifestations of significant moments in URI’s history, permanently linking past and present members of the URI community. As we tread upon these bricks, they allow us to remember those that came before, and remind us that there is more to come after we are gone.
To view the specific locations of these bricks, or to locate another brick, visit the following websites: