Awards, Agendas, Reports and Croques Monsieur Highlight Preservation Society Annual Meeting

 The Preservation Society of Newport County nearly filled Rosecliff’s grand ballroom with attendees for its Annual 2011 meeting (quite a feat, since “grand” is an apt description of the space), featuring speakers who touched upon the successes and challenges of the organization over the past year, as well as plans looking forward to the year ahead.

Among the meeting attendees were former chairman Pierre Irving and wife Kathy, Jerry and Diana Slocum, Oatsie Charles, Paul Szapary, Bettie Pardee, David Ford, Nancy Parker Wilson (whose husband, Bill Wilson, presented an award), Barbara Bohan, and Eugene Roberts.

Newport Mayor Stephen Waluk provided opening remarks, and was followed by the Chairman’s Report given by Chair of the Board Don Ross. Executive Director Trudy Coxe was next up with the CEO’s Report, and then Monty Burnham took the podium with the Treasurer’s Report. All three spoke highly of the past year, mentioning some major projects including the completion of Chateau-Sur-Mer’s roof and exterior renovation, the renovation to the Breaker’s Gate, and the digitalization of membership and general admissions systems for the mansions (helpful technology when you have some 300,000 visitors per annum!). Society membership is up to an astounding 23,000 members, which Coxe said may be partially attributable to the organizations aim of “building a preservation ethic into everything that we do.” There are plans in place to create a scholar center in the old carriage house at The Elms, to make Newport even more of a destination for historians and academics, and to augment the local cultural and intellectual climate.

After getting everyone “up to speed” on business affairs, the meeting switched gears to the “Laurel Awards” presentations to community members who had distinguished themselves in various categories. The Artisanship Award was presented to David Hart by Bill Wilson; Susan Stautberg announced the Volunteerism Award winners, which included Pat Fernandez, Candace Morgenstern, and Jocelyn Sherman for their tireless efforts in putting together 2011’s annual Newport Flower Show at Rosecliff. Helen Buchanan received the Horticulture Award from Angela Brown Fischer, and the Antiquarian Award was given to William Corcoran, presented by Don Ross.

Following the meeting was a simple, elegant hors d’oeuvres and cocktail reception on the Rosecliff terrace, with little croque monsieur sandwiches and strawberries with cream for dessert.


                                                         --Amanda M. Grosvenor











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