Dr. D. Scott Molloy Jr.

Inducted: 2009
Scott was born on August 17, 1946 into an Irish-Catholic, blue-collar family from the Reservoir Triangle neighborhood of Providence that had close ties to organized labor. His working-class background and his Irish ethnicity exerted profound influences upon his career and his achievements. Scott eventually became a labor leader and Rhode Island’s foremost labor historian as well as a leading authority on Rhode Island’s Irish-American community. Encouraged by his parents, he put his nose to the educational grindstone graduating from Hope High School, Rhode Island College (A.B., 1970), and the University of New Hampshire, where he earned a Master’s degree in American History in 1972. Armed with his graduate degree, Scott became a bus driver for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority in 1973. There he was a driving force in transit union affairs becoming president and business agent of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 618. Always the scholar, Scott enrolled in the graduate history program at Providence College while still a driver in 1981. In that year Scott gave up the wheel to become president and business agent for the transit union (Division 618) and served until 1984. He then became Rhode Island chief-of-staff in the Rhode Island office of U.S. Congresswoman Claudine Schneider. Over the next two decades, his academic career blossomed with a series of notable achievements. In 1986 Scott became a professor at the Schmidt Labor Research Center at the University of Rhode Island. In 1991, he earned his doctorate at Providence College; and his meticulously-researched dissertation was published in 1996 by the Smithsonian Institution as Trolley Wars: Streetcar Workers on the Line. Earlier Scott had established ties to the prestigious Smithsonian by donating to it 10,000 items of labor memorabilia–now known as the Scott Molloy Labor Archives. In 1987, Scott became the founding president of the Rhode Island Labor History Society and led this group until 1999 and is still an officer. This organization had become the largest local labor history society in the United States and, perhaps, the most productive from a scholarly perspective. Scott is not only a captivating and stimulating orator, he is also a teacher par excellence. He was voted URI Teacher-of-the-Year in 1996 and the Carnegie Foundation’s Professor of the Year in 2005. Scott has written numerous scholarly articles and newspaper commentaries and served on many cultural boards and agencies. He helped build the Irish Famine Memorial and published a recent biography of Irish-American industrialist Joseph Banigan. Truly it can be said of Scott Molloy that his trip from bus driver and union official to labor history professor (from the front of the bus to the front of the class) has been a joyous and productive excursion for him and for all who value the rights of labor and those who cherish their Irish heritage.
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