R 057
2017 -- H 5463
Enacted 02/14/2017

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Mattiello, Shekarchi, Shanley, Fogarty, and Amore
Date Introduced: February 14, 2017

     WHEREAS, The bold vision of the Right Rev. Matthew Harkins, D.D., Bishop of
Providence, to build a Catholic college in the diocese began in 1915, with a series of meetings
between the Bishop and Father Meagher in Providence, and eventually resulted in a petition to the
Dominican Master General "…to grant permission to the Fathers of the Province of St. Joseph to
undertake the burden of a college of higher learning in our episcopal city"; and
     WHEREAS, Included with the petition was Bishop Harkins' offer of an eleven acre tract
of land situated within ten minutes of the civic center of Providence and scholarships representing
$10,000 in capital. On October 11, 1915, the Chapter voted to accept the Bishop's offer, however,
unfortunate world events delayed the institution of Providence College until January 29, 1916,
when Father Meagher and Bishop Harkins finally received permission to erect the college; and
     WHEREAS, On February 14, 1917, Rhode Island Governor Robert Livingston Beekman
signed the Act to Incorporate Providence College into law. On February 24, 1917, Pope Benedict
XV's papal permission was granted, and on February 28, Master General Theissling gave his
formal permission to the papal document; and
     WHEREAS, On March 10, 1917, the first Providence College Corporation meeting was
held at the Bishop's House and by May 23, 1918, ground was broken for the College's first
building – Harkins Hall. On September 18, 1919, with seventy-one students and nine Dominican
faculty, Providence College opened its doors; and
     WHEREAS, Bishop Harkins' dream was legally and canonically founded in February of
1917, thus making the beginning of the fall semester of the 2016-17 academic year, the 100th
anniversary of the founding of Providence College; and,
     WHEREAS, Providence College is a Catholic, Liberal Arts College and is the only
college or university in the United States that is administered by the Dominican Friars. It is
currently comprised of an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 3,900 students, and offers
degrees in forty-nine academic majors; and
     WHEREAS, Milestones both big and small have marked Providence College's first
century. Through obstacles raised by World War I, the Great Depression and plummeting
enrollment caused by World War II, the College has persevered and adapted. In the fall of 1971,
approval for Providence College's undergraduate day school to admit women students was
received, and in 1948, the College joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
March of 1961, marked Providence College's first National Invitational Tournament men's
basketball team win, but to the delight of generations of students and alumni, many more titles
have followed in the ensuing years; and
     WHEREAS, With strong leadership, academic excellence, and a community built on
faith, since 1997, Providence College has consistently been ranked among the top five regional
universities in the North according to U.S. News & World Reports' "America's Best Colleges";
     WHEREAS, In the words of former Senator John O. Pastore, "Providence College has
wrought a social and intellectual revolution in the State of Rhode Island"; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations hereby celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Providence
College. We moreover wish the faculty, staff, alumni and students of Providence College many
more years of community enrichment and continued educational and spiritual success; and be it
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., President of
Providence College.