PROVIDENCE – Patrick T. Conley, a former Providence College professor who unsuccessfully attempted to develop Conley’s Pier along Allens Avenue in the city, has been appointed the state’s historian laureate, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis announced last week.
The duties of historian laureate include delivering historical lectures about pertinent aspects of Rhode Island history at important state historical ceremonies and observances, furnishing historical information or advice, reading and editing state-sponsored historical publications for accuracy and disseminating information about Rhode Island history and heritage. The newly created, ceremonial post receives no compensation.
Conley was one of three applicants who responded to a statewide request for nominations by the secretary of state’s office. More than 150 Rhode Island academic, cultural, municipal, historical and preservation organizations were asked to participate in the search.
Conley earned a doctorate in history from University of Notre Dame and was a professor of history and constitutional law at Providence College from 1963 until 1988. He is the author of dozens of books, including: “Makers of Modern Rhode Island” and “Rhode Island Founders: From Settlement to Statehood.“
He is president of the board of directors of the Heritage Harbor Museum and frequently lectures about American history at civic, cultural and educational events.
The other applicants were Roberta Mudge Humble, president of Westerly Armory Restoration Inc. and a professor of English and technical writing at the Community College of Rhode Island; and John G. Shaw III, president of Friends of Hazard Castle and a former accountant, internal auditor and recruiter. •