March is a time of transition for the Council as board members who have completed their terms cycle on to new adventures. This month, we recognize the dedicated service of Polly Hutcheson, the Council’s first-ever two-year Chair, and Shawn A. Christian, PhD. We are so grateful for their inspiring service and know we will see them often out in the community!
Polly has been a vital partner in advancing the Council’s mission to strengthen public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement in the state. She is a founding member of the Council’s leadership giving society, the Pell Circle, which is increasing philanthropy in support of the Council’s mission and has kept a dedicated hand in the grant review process throughout her time with the Council – always making meaningful connections between the organizations and projects we support. In her professional life, Polly is the Director of Sponsored Programs at Roger Williams University. Her energy, generosity, and commitment have been essential to advancing the Council’s impact in Rhode Island and on the national stage.
Shawn, has lent his thoughtful counsel to the board through service as Vice Chair as well as a member of the Grants Policy Committee. He is often found participating in grantee events and programs, connecting with Rhode Islanders through literature, performance, and cultural experiences. A former actor and (occasional) director, he has performed in a production of James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner and co-directed a production of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls. In January he served as the keynote speaker for the Reading Across Rhode Island Kick-Off. In his professional life, Shawn is Associate Provost and Associate Professor of English and African American, studies at Wheaton College in Norton, MA.