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Marc Parlange on running the University of Rhode Island

Here are 6 things we learned while running 6 miles with the president of the University of Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island President Marc Parlange running on campus.Edward Fitzpatrick

Happy Monday! I’m Ed Fitzpatrick and I’m here because Dan McGowan is going to some Knicks game, essentially/perpetually waiting for Willis Reed to emerge from the locker room. Follow me on Twitter @FitzProv or send tips to Edward.Fitzpatrick@globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 306.7 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days (as of Nov. 24)

Fully vaccinated: 758,245 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 399

Test-positive rate: 4.5 percent

Currently hospitalized: 127Total deaths: 2,915

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health. Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources. Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter


Leading off

Forget walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. You can learn more (and get a better workout) by running with them in your own shoes. So here’s six things I learned while running six miles around the University of Rhode Island campus with the new URI president, Marc B. Parlange:

🏃 The new guy can fly. His marathon PR, set in 1993, is 2 hours 41 minutes 30 seconds. That’s a pace of 6 minutes 10 seconds. That’s crushing it. Plus, when he was provost at Monash University in Australia, he ran five miles to work and five miles home each day.

🏃 While running past URI’s Peckham Farm , Parlange pointed out the site of a proposed 60-acre greenhouse and agricultural innovation center that he said could grow 10 percent of the vegetables eaten in the state each year. While that plan has drawn some opposition, he emphasized that Rhode Island is now only producing 2.5 percent of the vegetables its residents consume. “So we are a big importer of veggies,” he said. “That is not sustainable.” Some day, he said, the state could grow 100 percent of its own vegetables.

🏃 We also ran past the future site of the Tomaquag Museum, which plans to build a new facility on 18 acres owned by URI. And he noted that URI just began offering scholarships to undergraduates who are federally recognized members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. “We recognize that we are on the traditional and unceded territory of the Narragansett First Nation,” he said.


🏃  URI is seeking big bucks from Rhode Island’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funding. For example, it’s requesting $85 million for a Student Success Center and Health Center. It’s requesting $65 million for a Life Sciences wet lab building. And it’s requesting $160 million to renovate URI’s Narragansett Bay campus. “The future of Rhode Island is blue,” he said. “Here we have a world-class oceanography and ocean engineering program. It’s truly top five in the world.” But conditions at the Narragansett Bay campus are “atrocious,” he said.

🏃 Parlange was born in Providence, but he only lived there four months because his Air Force family moved. So don’t expect a Rhode Island accent.

🏃 While they haven’t lived in Rhode Island long, he and his wife, Mary, appear to be students of the state. Their bookshelves include a guide to the North South Trail, a biography of Narragansett Indian runner Ellison “Tarzan” Brown, and “The Prince of Providence: The True Story of Buddy Cianci , America’s Most Notorious Mayor, Some Wiseguys, and the Feds.”

The Globe in Rhode Island

Pierre Jean Gonzalez talks about playing the lead role in “Hamilton,” which will be at the Providence Performing Arts Center from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. Read more.

⚓ In the latest Ocean State Innovators Q&A, Alexa Gagosz details a new research collaboration between the Rhode Island School of Design and the Hyundai Motor Group. Read more.


Lauren Daley has compiled a holiday shopping guide with a distinctly Ocean State flavor, including a Rhode Island Reds T-shirt and a Benny’s mug. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Island is home to lots of great trails, and Amanda Milkovits reports on the newest one: The Nature Conservancy opened the Moshassuck River Preserve this fall with three miles of blazed trails in Lincoln. Read more.

⚓ Susan King ate a “death cap” mushroom plucked from her yard in Newport and lived to tell my colleague Brian Amaral about it. Read more.

⚓ The Department of the Interior has approved the 12-turbine South Fork wind farm, which will be built off Rhode Island’s coast and provide power for New York. Read more.

⚓ In the latest installment of “Rhode Island Voices,” Paula Hudson, executive director of Better Lives Rhode Island, talks about “how undervalued it is to treat someone with love.” Read more.

Here’s more Globe Rhode Island coverage.

Also in the Globe

⚓ Dr. Anthony Fauci says that because scientists don’t have a full understanding of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, travel bans are a good idea to provide time to prepare for it. Read more.

Phil Saviano, whose personal story and precise documentation of priests who assaulted children helped inform The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, died Sunday at age 69. Read more.


Dan Shaughnessy writes about how we knew New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones could take hits and inspire teammates, and now we know he can play in the cold. Read more.

⚓ The baby boomers who have dominated American life for three decades are beginning to step aside, but those in top positions, such as coach Bill Belichick and Senator Elizabeth Warren, are staying put. Read more.

Our journalism relies on support from readers like you. Please help us continue our mission with a subscription to the Globe. Here’s a special deal for Rhode Island.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ At 10:45 a.m., Governor Daniel J. McKee, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, and Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil D. Steinberg will announce a new grant program to support Rhode Island nonprofits.

⚓ At 3 p.m., the Special Legislative Commission to Analyze and Make Recommendations Regarding Tax Exempt Properties will meet in State House Room 313.

⚓ At 5 p.m., McKee, Matos, and other administration officials will host a “Rhode Island 2030″ public input session at Lincoln High School to help share a vision for the state’s future.

⚓ At 6 p.m., the state redistricting commission will meet in State House Room 313 to get an update from consultant Kimball W. Brace on the issue of whether inmates should be counted at state prisons in Cranston or at their home addresses.

Dan’s previous column

Dan McGowan asked the six Democratic candidates for governor to offer some advice to President Joe Biden. They mostly talked about themselves. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of his columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.


Rhode Island Report podcast

Ed Fitzpatrick talks to Lorén Spears from the Tomaquag Museum about what Thanksgiving represents for Indigenous people. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to Edward.Fitzpatrick@Globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @FitzProv. See you on Tuesday. Please tell your friends about Rhode Map! They can sign up here. The Globe has other e-mail newsletters on topics ranging from breaking news alerts to sports, politics, business, and entertainment — check them out.

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.