Heather Abbott, a 2003 graduate of Providence College and Newport resident, whose injuries in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing led her to establish a foundation which helps amputees obtain prosthetic devices, presentED the Commencement Address at Providence College’s Ninety-Eighth Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Abbott was one of five honorary degree recipients. The others are Robert W. Fiondella, Esq. ’64, retired CEO and chair of The Phoenix, a leading provider of wealth management products and services; Timothy P. Flanigan, M.D., a professor of medicine at Brown University who treated Ebola patients in Liberia and is also active in Haiti; Rose Weaver, an actor, singer, and playwright; and George T. Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival and co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).