NEWPORT, R.I. – The White House confirmed that Vice President Joe Biden has canceled his visit to Rhode Island on Thursday, Aug. 22, including his plans to attend an evening tribute for Nuala Pell at Salve Regina University, but the event is moving forward as scheduled.
Approximately 300 people, including diplomats, members of the Rhode Island delegation, state and local politicians, as well as family, friends and supporters of Mrs. Pell will attend the event in her honor from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Ochre Court, 100 Ochre Point Ave.
During the reception, the university will announce the establishment of the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in Public Service.
Administered by Salve Regina’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in Public Service will invest in the potential and the dreams of undergraduates at Salve Regina University by helping to create opportunities to participate in national leadership seminars, to meet with prominent policymakers and to hear from scholars shaping international strategies.
Among those in attendance to honor Mrs. Pell Thursday evening will be Claudia Fritsche, ambassador of Liechtenstein to the U.S.; and members of the Rhode Island delegation, including Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. James Langevin and Rep. David Cicilline.
Born in New York City in 1924 to Charles Oliver and Josephine Hartford O’Donnell, Nuala Pell graduated from Brearley School in 1942 and was a student at Bennington College. From her 1944 marriage to Claiborne Pell, Mrs. Pell became a full working partner in a shared venture of public service that stretched more than half of a century.
A longtime supporter of Salve Regina and a member of its Board of Trustees, Mrs. Pell was instrumental in bringing His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Newport in 2005, where he met privately with his close friends – the Pells – and graciously offered a public lecture that was attended by 4,000 people on the university’s campus.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Pell has been a passionate advocate for education, assuming an active interest in the development of Salve Regina’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy that was established in 1996 to honor the legacy of her husband. She worked to integrate Pell Center programming with the university’s undergraduate curriculum in order to expand opportunities for undergraduate students across all disciplines.
An ardent supporter of women’s health care issues, the elderly, and the arts and humanities in America, Mrs. Pell has been a trustee of the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Redwood Library in Newport, Roger Williams Hospital and Roger Williams Medical Center. She has also been a member of the International Rescue Committee, is past president of the Democratic Congressional Wives Forum, and has been a member of the Women’s National and Rhode Island Women’s Democratic Clubs.
Awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Salve Regina in 2006, Mrs. Pell has served as a trustee of the University of Rhode Island Foundation, a director of the Board of Samaritans in Providence and a trustee at Roger Williams College. In 1997, then Brown University President Vartan Gregorian awarded Mrs. Pell the highest honor a Brown University president may bestow – a President’s Medal – honoring her decades-long advocacy for education, scholarship, public service, the arts and philanthropy.
In establishing the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in Public Service, Salve Regina University aspires to preserve the values practiced by Mrs. Pell throughout her life of service to family, community and country while expanding opportunities for undergraduate students.