Think Big. We Do. Be sure to visit URI Today for the latest news | http://www.uri.edu/news/ The University was chartered as the state's agricultural school in 1888. The Oliver Watson farm was purchased as a site for the school, and the old farmhouse, now restored, still stands on the campus. The school became the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1892, and the first class of 17 members was graduated two years later.