R. Tripp Evans, President
Tripp Evans has been a member of the Athenæum since 2010 and has served as Board President since July 2016. Tripp is a Professor of Art History at Wheaton College in Norton, MA, where he specializes in the art and architecture of the Americas. He received his B.A. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia and his M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art from Yale University. He is the author of two books, Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915 (University of Texas Press: 2004) and Grant Wood: A Life (Alfred A. Knopf: 2010), the latter of which won the 2010 National Award for Arts Writing. He lives with his husband, Ed Cabral, on Providence’s West Side. He is an alumnus of the second Proust Reading Group.
Grace Hamilton Farmer, Vice President
Grace Farmer is a native of Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania and earned a BA in Economics and Finance from Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She spent most of her adult life living in London, England, where she raised two children and worked in the financial section of London, the City of London, in Investment Banking. Since moving to Providence, she has worked for the HELP Coalition, the Education Partnership, and the Providence After School Alliance, (PASA). She currently serves on the Board of the Central Falls charter school, the Learning Community. She lives in Providence with her husband.
Jonathan F. Bell, Vice-President for Building & Grounds
Jonathan Bell is an architect and educator in Providence. His firm, DUAL LLC, does a range of work, including adaptive reuse, commercial, and residential projects. Prior to co-founding DUAL in 2015, he was an associate at KITE Architects, where he worked with many not-for-profit, university, and residential clients. Jonathan also teaches in the Interior Architecture Department at the Rhode Island School of Design, and has taught at the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University. He is a graduate of Wesleyan (BA) and Princeton (M.Arch) Universities. Jonathan has been a member of the Athenæum since moving to Providence in 2000. In 2005, he joined the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and has been a member of the Board since 2007. His wife, Sarah Zurier, grew up in Providence going to the Athenæum, and their son Zachary is now an active user and participant in the Children’s Library and its programs.
Bradford M. Gibbs, Treasurer
Prior to returning to Providence and pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching at Brown, Brad Gibbs lived abroad for 17 years in London, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, and Dubai. He co-founded a publicly-listed sub-Saharan Africa-focused banking group and, previously, served as a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, where he worked for more than thirteen years executing mergers, acquisitions, and capital markets transactions across a broad array of industries. During his tenure at Morgan Stanley, Brad served as, amongst other roles, Head of South Africa Investment Banking and Head of EMEA Chemicals, Building Materials and Paper & Packaging. Brad received a MBA from The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) in 1998 and a BA in History with Honors from Brown University in 1993. Brad lives on College Hill with his wife, Robin, and their two children. All members of the family are delighted to have discovered the Providence Athenæum and are frequent visitors. An avid sailor, Brad also serves on the Board of Governors of the Fishers Island Yacht Club.
Karen Jessup, Secretary
Karen Jessup is a landscape historian, educator, community advocate, and advisor to non-profit preservation, conservation, and landscape protection organizations in the United States and Great Britain. Karen is past national chair of the Board of Advisors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and served as the interim Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society. For 17 years, she was a member of the faculty at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, directing the Historic Preservation Program and its study abroad semester in Britain. Karen and her family have been shareholders and/or members of the Providence Athenᴂum since the 1970s.
Board of Directors
Kqantu Pareja Bennett
J. Scott Burns
Brian Charles Hayden
Ethan Hillary Kisch, M.D.
Cathy Lund, D.V.M.
Melvin D. Wesley, AIA