Year Inducted: 2002

Attorney General Julius C. Michaelson - A champion for human, civil and labor rights, Julius C. Michaelson spent a decades-long long career of public service, fighting for social justice. He was best known for the “Michaelson Act," requiring school districts to bargain in good faith with teachers, ending the long-standing practice of ignoring teachers to put force them to givie up…
Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams - In early nineteenth-century Rhode Island, a woman’s role was sharply circumscribed by tradition. A woman—even one of high social station—was thought of mainly as a wife and a mother. Those who ventured beyond the home (religious nuns excepted) might find work from the 1830s onward as a teacher in a primary school, as a school…
Chief Justice Samuel Ames - Ames, Samuel, 1806-1865 Chief Justice Samuel Ames (1806-1865) of Providence served in many public capacities including state legislator, speaker of the house, and quartermaster general of the state militia. His most significant service was as chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court (1856-1865). Ames studied at Phillips-Andover Academy and graduated from Brown University in…
Chief Justice William Read Staples - Chief Justice William Read Staples of Providence was a prominent lawyer, jurist, and civil servant. With the possible exception of Samuel Greene Arnold, who eulogized him, Staples was also the premier Rhode Island historian of the nineteenth century. In the 1820s, Staples became a leader of the Rhode Island bar and then a prosecutor for…
Congressman Elisha Reynolds Potter Jr. - Congressman Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. (1811-1882) of South Kingstown was the son and namesake of a U.S. congressman, Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. (1764-1835) and Mary (Mawney) Potter. The remarkably varied career of this Harvard graduate included such occupations and positions as attorney, historian, adjutant general, state legislator, congressman, state commissioner of public schools (succeeding Henry…
Dr. Isaac Ray - Dr. Isaac Ray (1807-1881) is one of the fathers of American psychiatry. A native of Beverly, Massachusetts, Ray graduated from Phillips-Andover Academy and attended Bowdoin College in Maine, but left prior to graduation. Returning to Beverly, Ray served a medical apprenticeship to a local doctor, then enrolled at Harvard Medical School, and eventually concluded his…
Dr. Joseph J. Loferski - Dr. Joseph J. Loferski, physicist and pioneer in the development of modern solar cells, hewas professor emeritus and chair of engineering at Brown. Born and educated in Pennsylvania, Dr. Loferski focused his career on photovoltaic cells and the properties of semiconductors. He joined the Brown faculty as an associate professor of engineering in 1961 and…
Dr. Usher Parsons - Parsons, Usher, 1788-1868 Dr. Usher Parsons of Providence was Rhode Island's foremost physician of the early 19th century. Born in Alfred, Maine, the youngest of nine children, Parsons had little formal schooling, but began the study of medicine as an apprentice to physicians in Alfred and Boston. Parsons was licensed to practice by the Massachusetts…
Elizabeth Buffum Chace - Elizabeth Buffum Chace, the first woman to be memorialized with a statue in the Rhode Island State House, was an antislavery activist and a pioneering advocate for women’s suffrage. The daughter of abolitionist leader Arnold Buffum, she married fellow Quaker Samuel Chace, a Fall River textile manufacturer. The Chaces had ten children; tragically the oldest…
Leona McElroy Kelly - Former Rhode Island Representative from South Kingstown. Leona A. Kelley was born in Providence on August 15, 1919. She attended Classical High School and the University of Rhode Island graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1941. Her political career began in the 1950s as a social worker. After taking time off to raise…
Michael A. “Mike” Tranghese - Michael A. Tranghese is a former collegiate golfer, sports information director and, most notably, the long-term commissioner of one of the most successful college athletic conferences of all-time. Mr. Tranghese was born on February 2, 1944 in Springfield, Massachusetts to Michael and Josephine (nee DiSantis). He attended Cathedral High School in Springfield and upon graduation…
Michael Thomas “Mike” Roarke - Michael T. “Mike” Roarke (1930-2019) was born on November 8, 1930 to Walter J. and Mary T. (nee Riley) Roarke in West Warwick, Rhode Island where he was raised through his high school years. Vice President of the West Warwick High School Class of 1948, Mike was a schoolboy star in baseball and football in…
Mother Mary Frances Xavier Warde - Mother Mary Frances Xavier Warde, 1840-1884, was the American founder of the Sisters of Mercy (R.S.M.). Born in Ireland to fairly prosperous parents, she was orphaned in her teens. At age sixteen she moved to Dublin where she met Catherine McAuley, a social service worker, who established the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 to provide…
Pasquale “Pat”/”Doc” J. Abbruzzi - Pat Abruzzi is considered one of the best athletes to come out of Rhode Island. Born in Warren on August 29, 1932, Pat was raised in Warren and attended local schools. He played football for Warren High School and was named All Class C football running back in 1948 and 1949. During his senior year…
Peter J. Farrelly - The Farrelly Brothers, Peter, and Bobby are considered two of the best comedic film writers and producers of the 21st Century, a talent they cultivated beginning in their youth. They comprise the new breed of New England comedians such as Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien of Massachusetts or Seth McFarland of Connecticut, Adam Sandler of…
Reverend Francis Wayland - Reverend Francis Wayland, 1796-1856, was a prominent Baptist minister, the president of Brown University (1826-1855), pastor of Providence's First Baptist Church, and an influential moral philosopher. Wayland, the son and namesake of a Baptist minister, was born in New York City and graduated from Union College. Then, after two years of medical study, he attended…
Robert L. Farrelly - The Farrelly Brothers, Peter, and Bobby are considered two of the best comedic film writers and producers of the 21st Century, a talent they cultivated beginning in their youth. They comprise the new breed of New England comedians such as Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien of Massachusetts or Seth McFarland of Connecticut, Adam Sandler of…
Robert Owens “Bob” Tiernan - Robert O. Tiernan was an attorney, member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, member of the United States House of Representatives and a high-ranking federal government official during his career of public service. Born in Providence on February 24, 1929 to Joseph and Mary (nee McConnell), Tiernan attended LaSalle Academy where he achieved All State…
Senator Philip Allen - Allen, Philip, 1785-1865 Senator Philip Allen (1785-1865) of Providence was a merchant, a textile magnate, a reform governor (1851-53), and a one-term United States Senator (1853-1859). The brother of Zachariah Allen, noted inventor and industrialist, and the uncle of Thomas Wilson Dorr, Allen was also prominent in banking and insurance. A graduate of Brown University…
Thomas Alexander Tefft - In 1856, the year that thirty-year-old Thomas Alexander Tefft embarked on an educational and architectural tour of Europe—from which he would not return alive—Massachusetts bard John Greenleaf Whittier published his famous poem “Maud Muller,” containing these memorable lines: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”…
Thomas Robinson Hazard - Thomas Robinson Hazard was a South Kingstown manufacturer, agriculturalist, author and social reformer who embodied the egalitarian spirit of the pre–Civil War age of reform. Affectionately called “Shepherd Tom” because of his prize sheep herd, Hazard, born on January 3, 1797, was a seventh-generation descendant of Thomas Hazard, the progenitor of the famous Hazard clan…
Wilkins Updike - Wilkins Updike, a member of the noted Updike family of North Kingstown, was the youngest of eleven children of Lodowick and Abigail Updike, and he was the father of twelve. He was born on January 8, 1784, to a paternal line originating in Prussia and including Richard Smith, the first white settler in the Narragansett…
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