Inductees in Business / Entrepreneurs

  1. Senator Philip Allen

    Senator Philip Allen (1785-1865)

    Inducted in 2002

     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 (Class of 1803), Philip Allen was Rhode Island’s most prominent political figure of the early 1850s. He was chosen governor as a Democrat in the April elections of 1851, 1852, and 1853. Read more >
  2. Zachariah Allen

    Zachariah Allen (1795-1882)

    Inducted in 1973

    Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire insurance system in early America . Read more >

  3. Warren Alpert

    Warren Alpert (1920-2007)

    Inducted in 2014

    Pursuing Health to Benefit Society

    “I wanted to be rich,' he told the Boston Globe very seriously in 1988, “so I could give my money away.”

    That would all happen but not nearly as quickly has he might have hoped. He had graduated from BU in 1942, and by June 1944, he was a private first class in Army Intelligence aboard one of ships in the immense armada approaching the Normandy coast. But he was not to set foot in France. Read more >

  4. Edward Carrington

    Edward Carrington (1775-1843)

    Inducted in 2012

     Edward Carrington was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 2, 1775, the son of physician Edward Carrington and the former Susan Whittlesey. His family moved to Providence after the Revolution, and here Edward embarked upon a career in maritime commerce.

    Carrington zealously embraced the commercial opportunity to engage in the exotic China and East India trade, an enterprise begun in 1787 by Providence's Brown family. In 1802, after serving as a clerk for three local merchants, he went to Canton, China and soon was appointed United States consul, a position he held until 1811. Read more >

  5. Irwin Chase

    Inducted in 2009

    Irwin Chase is the eldest son of Martin Chase, a Russian Jew who immigrated with his family from the Ukraine to Providence in 1912. The Chase family first settled in South Providence but later moved to the East Side. Born in 1926, Irwin attended Hope High School. At eighteen he joined the army and fought in World War II earning a Combat Infantryman Badge and a Bronze Star. Read more >

  6. Diane L. Coutu (1953-)

    Inducted in 1980

    Diane Coutu, a native of West Warwick, was named a Rhode Scholar at Oxford after graduating with honors at Yale University. She was the winner of the Rotary International Fellowship, an Oxford University Graduate, and interned as Yale's Griswold Scholar. At the age of 27, she was appointed to the Rand Corporation in California, where she worked until 1997. Read more >

  7. Robert L. Crandall

    Inducted in 2001


    ROBERT L. CRANDALL, of Dallas, Texas and formerly of Westerly, retired President Emeritus of American Airlines where he worked for eighteen years holding positions as president, chairman and CEO. During his tenure with American, he spearheaded many innovative changes in the airline business prompting experts to describe him as “the man who changed the way the world flies.”   Bob has been a major donor and fund-raiser for his alma mater, the University of Rhode Island. Read more >
  8. Joseph Davol

    Joseph Davol (1837-1909)

    Inducted in 2007

    Joseph Davol, a native of Warren, traced his ancestry to William Davol who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1640. After early schooling in Warren, Joseph moved with his parents to Brooklyn, New York where he attended high school. At the age of sixteen he entered the employ of a wholesale dry goods business in New York City where he received successive promotions by exhibiting a talent for business. In 1862 Davol married Mary E. Read more >

  9. David A. Duffy

    Inducted in 2001


    David A. Duffy of North Kingstown, is the retired chairman of the highly successful firm of Duffy & Shanley, a Providence based advertising, marketing and public relations firm. David Duffy worked his way up from a typicla Pawtucket Irish kid working in a bar to success as a prominent businessman and civic leader. 
    Duffy attended St. Read more >
  10. William F. F. Farley (1942-)

    Inducted in 1998

    William F. Farley, a businessman was chairman and CEO of Fruit of the Loom.

    Farley was born to a working-class Irish Catholic family in Pawtucket on October 10, 1942. He is the eldest child of John Farley, a postal worker and part-time musician and Barbara Farley, a receptionist. Read more >

  11. Aram G. Garabedian

    Inducted in 2012

    Aram G. Garabedian was born in Providence and raised by his Armenian parents. He graduated from Hope High School. After losing an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Maine, Aram decided to hitch-hike there anyway with just $35 in his possession. Read more >

  12. Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard

    Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard (1837-1916)

    Inducted in 2009


    Goddard, Robert H. I. (Robert Hale Ives), 1837-1916

    Colonel Robert Goddard (1837-1916) was a son of Professor William G. Goddard, newspaperman and first Chancellor of Brown University, and Charlotte Rhoda Ives Goddard. Read more >

  13. John Gorham

    John Gorham (1820-1898)

    Inducted in 2009


    Gorham, John, 1820-1898

    John Gorham was born in Providence on November 18, 1820. He was the eldest son of Jabez Gorham who had established himself as a leading manufacturer of silverware and jewelry in Providence in the 1830s. 

    John began his apprenticeship in 1837 and in 1841, at the age of 21, he became a partner in his father's business which then became known as J. Gorham & Son. Read more >

  14. Carl W. Haffenreffer (1906-1999)

    Inducted in 2007


    Haffenreffer, Carl W.

    Carl W. Haffenreffer, son of Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., continued his father’s tradition of business and philanthropic activity. Read more >

  15. Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, III (1902-1991)

    Inducted in 2007

     Haffenreffer, R.F.

    Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, III (1902-1991), the eldest son of Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., succeeded to his father’s positions in several family ventures. Read more >
  16. Colonel Randall A. Harrington

    Colonel Randall A. Harrington (1854-1918)

    Inducted in 2013

    Harrington, Randall A. (Randall Augustus), 1854-1918

    Colonel Randall Augustus Harrington (1854-1918) was born in the mill village of Phenix, then a part of the town of Warwick in 1854, the son of Randall A. Harrington and Mary Madison Harrington. The Harringtons and Madisons were descended from early Rhode Island families. Read more >
  17. Alan G. Hassenfeld (1948-)

    Inducted in 2009

     Alan Hassenfeld is the former chairman of the board and present chairman of the executive committee of Hasbro, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international toy company. Under his leadership, Hasbro has become a worldwide leader in children's and family entertainment. Its brands and products are some of the most recognizable and respected throughout the world. Read more >

  18. John Brown Herreshoff (1841-1915)

    Inducted in 2007


    Herreshoff, John Brown, 1841-1915

    John Brown Herreshoff  was the Bristol-born elder brother and indispensable associate of Hall of Famer Nat Herreshoff. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, which built seven America’s Cup defenders from 1893 through 1934, was founded in 1878 by “JB” and Nat Herreshoff. This firm operated under JB’s direction for thirty-seven years.

    JB lost one eye to disease at age 13 and the other by an accident a year later. Read more >
  19. Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

    Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

    Inducted in 2006


    Knight, Benjamin B., 1813-1898 and Knight, Robert, 1825-1912

    The Knight brothers were textile manufacturers and philanthropists, owning twenty-one manufacturing villages under the logo “Fruit of the Loom,” and employing nearly 7000 operatives.

    Benjamin was born in Cranston, R.I. Read more >

  20. Bruce R. Lang

    Inducted in 2011


    Bruce R. Lang is an American entrepreneur and former television executive, television and radio host and analyst, co-founder of two Rhode Island good government groups, Operation Clean Government and UsPAC (1991–1993). He currently hosts State of the State (TV show) on a part-time basis.
    Bruce Lang, a resident of Newport, has a B. Read more >
  21. Royal Little (1896-1989)

    Inducted in 2012

    Quality traits such as curiosity, courage, and counter-intuition have characterized key moments of Royal Little’s life. A natural inquiring mind led him to insights others missed or thought not possible, most notably his invention of the business conglomerate, Textron, a company comprised of separate, unrelated, diversified manufacturing enterprises.

    Dealt a harsh blow in early life by his father’s death and the relocation of his family from Wakefield, Massachusetts, he faced the grim possibility of attending a rural, one-room school in California, Little was rescued by his uncle, Arthur D. Little, enrolled in a private Boston-area school and then sent on to Harvard. Read more >

  22. Robert B. Lynch

    Robert B. Lynch (1922-2003)

    Inducted in 2004

    Bob "Chief" Lynch was known for his volunteer contributions to the preservation and promotion of Rhode Island's heritage over the last four decades. 

    Lynch graduated from Cranston High School and Brown University (Class of 1944). He was a Navy veteran of World War II. He served  on the Harry F. Read more >

  23. George Champlin Mason, Sr.

    George Champlin Mason, Sr. (1820-1894)

    Inducted in 2006

    Mason, George C. (George Champlin), 1820-1894

    George Champlin Mason, Sr. was a noted Newport architect, real estate developer, editor of the Newport Mercury, prolific historian of Newport, and a founder of the Newport Historical Society.  Among his significant architectural designs are Chepstow, the 1860-61 Italianate villa just off Bellevue Avenue, Newpor; Eisenhower House, at 1 Lincoln Drive at Ford Adams State Park, used during the former president's administration as his summer residence. Read more >

  24. John E. Moran (1913-1997)

    Inducted in 1986

    John E. Moran, 1913-1997, served as President and Co-founder of McLaughin & Moran Distributors, which was a recognized leader in its' field for over fifty years. An outstanding all-state athlete out of LaSalle Academy, he starred for Manhattan College in football and baseball. For the next fifty years, with time out for U. Read more >

  25. Joseph R. Paolino, Sr.

    Joseph R. Paolino, Sr. (1929-2012)

    Inducted in 2013

    A lifelong resident of Rhode Island, Joseph R. Paolino’s entire career revolved around real estate, and in this important area of Rhode Island’s economy he had no peer.

    Entrepreneurial, tough-minded, persistent, and unafraid of challenge, Paolino literally changed the face of Downtown Providence real estate. Joe’s father, Anthony, helped spark young Paolino’s early interest in real estate, and at the age of seventeen Joe sold his first piece of property. Read more >

  26. James Procaccianti

    Inducted in 2008

    By almost any measure, James Procaccianti is an American success story. His pre-eminent position in the world of real estate reflects the strong set of values and work ethic instilled in him by his parents, combined with his own instincts for profitable real estate deals and his round-the-clock passion for excellence.

    Jim learned the basics of real estate, not from a textbook, but from his parents, Armand and Eve, who began acquiring residential and commercial real estate in 1964. At age fourteen, Jim began spending time after school collecting rents or working on maintenance crews. Read more >

  27. George M. Sage (1931-2006)

    Inducted in 2009

    George M. Sage, 1931-2006, was one of the most beloved Rhode Islanders of his generation. A gifted businessman, Mr. Sage had an even more substantial impact for his philanthropic endeavors, planning and executing a legacy of giving that will benefit Rhode Islanders for years to come. Read more >

  28. John M. Sapinsley (1922-2012)

    Inducted in 2013

    John M. Sapinsley's personal traits such as curiosity, courage, critical thinking, and kindness led him on an extraordinary life journey as a successful U.S. Navy veteran, businessman, professor, mentor, philanthropist, champion gofer, and most importantly, a loving husband to Senator Lila Sapinsely (a 2004 RI Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee), a father of four accomplished daughters and a proud grandfather of nine. Read more >

  29. John Aldrich Saunders, Jr. (1808-1882)

    Inducted in 2007

    John Aldrich Saunders, Jr. (1808-1882) was the central figure, chronologically and symbolically, of the noted South County family of boat builders, marine entrepreneurs, and seamen. He was born in Newport, the grandson of Stephen Saunders, a shipwright, and the son of Captain John Aldrich Saunders (1786-1832), who built one of the first three-mastered schooners and discovered that the buttonwood tree provided the best wood for a ship's keel. In all, Captain Saunders, Sr. Read more >

  30. Walter Scott

    Walter Scott (1841-1924)

    Inducted in 2009

    The steps leading to the invention of an American cultural original, the diner eatery, began in Providence through the initiative of Walter Scott. He was born on November 28, 1841 in Cumberland, the son of lawyer Joseph A. Scott and Juliet Howland Scott. By age eleven Scott was peddling candy, fruit, and newspapers on the streets of Providence to supplement his widowed mother's small income. Read more >

  31. Robert F. Tasca, Sr.

    Inducted in 2001

    ROBERT F. TASCA, SR., of Hope, chairman of Tasca Ford Sales and Tasca Lincoln-Mercury, built an internationally recognized automotive empire and a business that is currently among the largest volume dealers in the nation. Bob has immersed himself in community and humanitarian projects. Read more >

  32. Yat K. Tow (1912-1990)

    Inducted in 2010

    The distinction and honor of being the first Chinese-American to be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame is a recognition that Yat K. Tow (1912-1990) would accept with humility and pride. It is a tribute that has inclusive symbolic value--a shared honor that must also recognize the Tow family that preceded him and the other Chinese-American families that have contributed to our state.

    The Tow family made a deep impression on Rhode Island’s hospitality and culinary history through the success of three of their restaurants: the Port Arthur, the Ming Garden, and the Great House. Read more >

  33. John Hazen White Sr. (1914-2001)

    Inducted in 1998

    John Hazen White, Sr. (1914-2001) took over his family's Thermal Appliance Company “Taco” in 1942 at the age of 29 following the death of his father. The company built water heaters, tempering valves and boiler controls. During World War II, Taco switched to war production, building gun mounts for U. Read more >



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