September 7, 1769

First Commencement Held in Warren

At the first commencement, held at the Baptist Church in Warren, seven students were awarded degrees. Initiating a tradition of commencement debates, students presented arguments on both sides of the statement: “The Americans, in their present Circumstances, cannot, consistent with good Policy, affect to become an independent State.” A preliminary declaration at the event that the College planned to make its permanent home in Bristol County, Warren’s location, initiated a spirited competition among rival locations, including Newport and Providence.