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The Inauguration of
Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong

Eighth President of Salve Regina University

“The Mercy Promise: A Celebration of Our Community, Collaboration and the Creative Spirit”

In celebrating the inauguration of Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong as the eighth president of Salve Regina, the University embarked on a continued commitment to our mercy mission and the promise it holds for a future strengthened by community, collaboration and the creative spirit. Abundantly blessed, the Salve Regina community welcomes Dr. Armstrong's enthusiastic leadership as we build upon the past for a vibrant and promising tomorrow.

Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong

Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong’s work in higher education has centered on improving the educational experience for students through research, planning and strategy. She is particularly passionate about serving disadvantaged students and supporting the advancement of women in underrepresented areas.

A 1986 graduate of Bates College, Armstrong earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia in 1987 and a Ph.D in higher education administration from Boston College in 1996. She also earned an executive leadership certificate in management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018.

Inauguration Ceremony

Inaugural Address

Inauguration Highlights

Inauguration Schedule

Friday, Sept. 20

  • Noon – All classes end
  • 12:15 p.m. – Inaugural Mass, McAuley Hall lawn
  • 2:30 p.m. – Academic procession
  • 3 p.m. – Inauguration ceremony, McAuley Hall lawn
  • 4:30 p.m. – Reception and refreshments, O’Hare Academic Building terrace
  • 6 p.m. – Private reception for invited guests
  • 7 p.m. – Inaugural ball for the student community, McAuley Hall lawn

Mercy Week Events

During Mercy Week, we join together as a University community to honor the heritage of Salve Regina and our roots as an institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy.

Opening discussion on immigration
6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, Mercy Center for Spiritual Life

Sister Kathleen Erickson will discuss “What Immigration is Teaching Us About Who We Are.” Sister Kathleen has been involved in immigration ministry since 1991, providing spiritual support to detained immigrants in federal detention centers and county jails. Last March, she participated in a “root causes” pilgrimage to Honduras to deepen understanding of the reasons for forced migration, including corporate greed and the effects of climate change.

Evening Mass celebrating mercy
7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Our Lady of Mercy Chapel

Mercy Day lunch
Tuesday, Sept. 24, Miley dining hall

Celebrate the roots of Catherine McAuley with an Irish-themed lunch (complimentary for all faculty and staff).

Dedication ceremony for Catherine McAuley statue
4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, Our Lady of Mercy Chapel

Recognizing the needs of the economically poor in early 19th century Ireland, Catherine McAuley determined that she and women like her could make a difference. Impressed by her good works, the archbishop of Dublin advised her to establish a religious congregation, and in 1831 McAuley and two companions became the first Sisters of Mercy. The dedication ceremony honors her legacy by celebrating McAuley’s vision of mercy in her time and in ours.

Mercy heritage night
6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, Mercy Center for Spiritual Life

“Mercy: Stories That Stick” will feature Salve Regina alumni discussing their experiences of mercy after graduation. Tea will be served in celebration of the Sisters of Mercy’s Irish heritage.

Atwood Lecture: Dr. Damian Costello
7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, Bazarsky Lecture Hall

Dr. Damian Costello, an internationally recognized expert on the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk, will discuss “When the World Falls Apart: Nicholas Black Elk, Sainthood and the Spirits of Mercy.” Costello's scholarship lives at the intersection of Catholic theology, indigenous spiritual traditions and American colonial history. He is the author of "Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism," has served as the advisor and consultant to documentary projects on Black Elk, and is currently the vice-postulator for Black Elk's cause for canonization in the Catholic church.

Information for Delegates and Special Guests

Please reply using the online response form or call (401) 341-2435.

Parking for guests participating in the inaugural procession is available in the McKillop Library parking lot on Ochre Point Avenue. For GPS directions, use 32 Ochre Point Ave. Please note that space is limited.

Persons walking in the procession are asked to arrive at the O’Hare Academic Building by 1:45 p.m. Personal items may be stored in a designated area in O’Hare until after the ceremony.

Delegates are requested to provide their own academic regalia.

Special guests are asked to be seated in the tent on the McAuley Hall lawn by 2:15 p.m.

Lodging in the Area

Hotel Viking
1 Bellevue Ave., Newport
(401) 847-3300

Newport Marriott
25 America’s Cup Ave., Newport
(401) 849-1000

Wyndham Newport Hotel
240 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown
(401) 236-2020

The Vanderbilt
41 Mary St., Newport
(401) 846-6200

Atlantic Beach Hotel
28 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown
(401) 619-2800

Gurney’s Newport Resort
1 Goat Island, Newport
(401) 849-2600

Newport Beach Hotel & Suites
1 Wave Ave., Middletown
(401) 846-0310