Friends, family members and instructors gathered in the RISD Auditorium the evening of June 5 to celebrate the accomplishments of students receiving certificates for completion of studies in RISD Continuing Education certificate programs.

At this year’s ceremony and reception, 50 students received certificates in nine RISD|CE programs:

  • Animation
  • Children’s Book Illustration
  • Graphic Design
  • Interactive Design
  • Interior Design
  • Natural Science Illustration
  • Painting Studies
  • Photography
  • Product Development + Manufacturing

Executive Director of Continuing Education Sarah Caggiano welcomed the 50 students “who have left their thumbprints on the world,” some who enrolled for personal development, and others for new professional opportunities.

In her address, President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID recognized the commitment of graduates and their families, and reflected on the importance of CE to RISD. “Making art and design accessible to the local community through continuing education is central to what we do at RISD. It is, in fact, written into our DNA through our original mission, which is ‘to educate our students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design.’”

David Paolino was presented with the 2018-2019 Teacher of Excellence Award. As RISD|CE’s longest-serving instructor across all programs, David has been the Interior Design certificate director, advisor and instructor at various times since 1975. He was recognized for his ability to teach students with a variety of learning styles, and for translating his years of professional practice and field work in a meaningful way.

The graduates heard from one of their own, student speaker Heather Zhao,­ recipient of two certificates in Interior Design and Photography. Heather reflected on her path from young immigrant with dreams of design, to college years and a career in real estate investment, to a layoff prompting a career change. “The interior design program helped me realize my dream of becoming a designer, and the photography program elevated me to a whole new level of art creation and appreciation.”

Certificate graduate speaker Elaine Fredrick – a 2013 graduate of RISD|CE’s Interior Design certificate program and a 2015 graduate of the Digital Photography program – now works as a commercial photographer, shooting projects for interior designers, builders and architects. She encouraged this year’s graduates to join professional associations and emphasized the importance of promoting their work: “Self-promotion does not come easily for many of us. While marketing and promoting ourselves may seem difficult, the really hard thing is the photography, the art, or the design you create … But I know you’re ready to take on these challenges. After all, you’re RISD|CE certificate graduates!”

Congratulations, Graduates!

RISD|CE offers certificate programs that address specific training needs of adult students, many of whom have college and professional experience but want to upgrade their skills or make a career change.