RI Heritage Hall of Fame inductees announced

Bristol is expected to be the future home of the state museum

EastBayRI.com ·

Fourteen prominent Rhode Islanders will be forever honored for their significant contributions to the state as they are enshrined in the RI Heritage Hall of Fame.

The hall’s board of directors this week announced this year’s inductees into the hall of fame, which is expected to be located in Bristol in coming years. Board President Patrick T. Conley plans to announce plans for the museum in the Bristol and present a model of the building’s design.

The inductees include:

  • Ben-Hur “Ben” Bagdikian, nationally-renowned reporter for the Washington Post, professor and dean of the School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, leading critic of media consolidation, and Providence Journal reporter from 1947 to 1962.
  • Carlton C.  Brownell, the leading local historian and preservationist for the towns of Little Compton and Tiverton, teacher, and farmer; longtime leader of the Little Compton Historical Society and the Brownell Library. 
  • George Patrick Duffy, voice of the Rhode Island Reds hockey team for 25 years, accomplished athlete, coach of youth sports, advocate for disabled children, and Pawtucket civic leader. 
  • Sidney S. Goldstein, businessman and humanitarian who was the 
  • co-founder of Consumer Value Stores, an enterprise that evolved under his leadership and that of his brother, Stanley, into Woonsocket-based CVS.  
  • Dr. Jay S. Goodman, principal advisor to several prominent Rhode Island officials, head of the Civic Center Authority, author of nine scholarly volumes on government, and professor of political science at Wheaton College for 50 years. 
  • Bradford Gorham, dubbed Rhode Island’s “Mr. Republican,” former House minority leader, governmental reformer, Republican state chairman, attorney, farmer and environmentalist. 
  • Lionel Joseph Jenkins, outstanding basketball player at Mount St. Charles and Providence College, civil rights activist, and regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Galway Kinnell, Providence-born and Pawtucket-raised professor and poet who won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the MacArthur Fellowship for his reform-oriented verses. He wrote 12 books of poetry. 
  • Dr. Pauline Maier, longtime summer resident of Little Compton and professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; distinguished for her prize-winning books on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 
  • John F.  McBurney, Jr., World War II hero, recipient of the Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honour, All-American baseball player at  Providence College, longtime state senator from Pawtucket, and prominent trial attorney. 
  • Dr. William DeWitt Metz, principal historian of South County, professor of History at the University of Rhode Island for nearly four decades, and founder or leader of numerous South County historical organizations.
  • Alfred “Al” V.  Morro, accomplished athlete and legendary coach and teacher at Providence’s Classical High School, known for his expertise in the field events where he produced an array of state high school record holders. 
  • Leonard J.  Panaggio, Rhode Island’s most prominent promoter of tourism, local historian, prolific newspaper columnist for the Newport Daily News and director emeritus of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. 
  • Richard J. Walton, influential professor of political science at Rhode Island College, ardent social activist, prolific historian of American Cold War foreign policy, and 1984 Citizens Party candidate for U.S. vice-president. 

The Heritage Hall of Fame — now consisting of 757 Rhode Islanders from Roger Williams and the chief sachems of the Narragansett and the Wampanoag tribes to present-day state residents — was created in 1965 to honor “any individual who has brought credit to Rhode Island, brought Rhode Island into prominence, and contributed to the history and heritage of the state.” Inductees must have been born in Rhode Island, lived, studied, or worked in Rhode Island for a significant time, or made his or her reputation here, Dr. Conley said.

This year’s induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 30, at River Falls Restaurant in Woonsocket, next to the Museum of Work and Culture. The venue is the original site of the historic rubber mill of “Rubber King” Joseph Banigan. A 2 p.m. social hour will be followed by a 3 p.m. dinner and the induction ceremony.

The donation to the Heritage Hall of Fame for the dinner event is $50. Tables for 8 people are available and may be reserved. Tickets can be ordered by calling 401-569-3244, and can be paid for at the door by cash, check or credit card.

For more information, contact Robert Billington at 401-569-3244.

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