Bristol native Fiondella gets honorary doctorate

Robert W. Fiondella, Esq., class of 1964, retired CEO and chair of The Phoenix, a leading provider of wealth management products and services received an honorary degree as a doctor of administration from Providence College.

A native of Bristol, Conn., where he still resides, Fiondella was the first in his family to attend college. He studied political science in the Liberal Arts Honors Program at PC and received a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1968. He began working as a computer programmer and systems analyst for Travelers Insurance Company while in law school.

Fiondella joined the law department of Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1969. He advanced through the department, becoming senior vice president and general counsel in 1981. In 1983, he was named executive vice president of the company, and in 1987, was elected president and appointed a director of Phoenix Mutual. He was elected chief operating officer in 1989 and given responsibility for all lines of business.

When Phoenix Mutual and Home Life Insurance Company merged in 1992, Fiondella was elected president and chief operating officer of the new entity, Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Company. In 1994, he was elected chairman, president, and chief executive officer, positions he held until he retired from Phoenix in 2002. He now is a private investor and founding principal of JEROB Enterprises, LLC.

A business and civic leader in Connecticut, he is a member of the board of directors of Oxford Performance Materials and has served on the boards of several other corporations and organizations. He is a driving force behind the development of Adriaen’s Landing, a $900 million revitalization project in Hartford.

When PC established The Angel Fund to help students whose families were affected by the financial crisis of 2008, Fiondella decided that he wanted to “repay” the $900-per-year scholarship he received to attend PC — in today’s dollars — and committed to donate $6,000 per year for four years.

In November 2015, Fiondella was inducted into the Bristol, Conn. Sports Hall of Fame for his support of athletics in the community. He helped to develop the Bristol Boys & Girls Club, which named its field house in his honor; created Girls Little League Softball and; served on the board of Special Olympics International, among other organizations.

Fiondella received the 2003 Urban League of Greater Hartford Black History Merit award. He chaired the 2000 Greater Hartford Heart Walk for the American Heart Association. He is the 1996 recipient of the Connecticut River Council, Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award. He has provided leadership for events and projects benefiting the American Cancer Society, the American Paralysis Society, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, and Johnson Memorial Hospital. He was a director of the Urban League Center and co-chair of the “Working Wonders” Hartford Summer Youth Program.

Fiondella and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of two sons, Robert and Jeffrey, and have four grandchildren, including Robert Jon Fiondella, class of 2016.
Timothy P. Flanigan, M.D. received a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. He is a professor of medicine and professor of health services, policy, and practice at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and infectious-disease specialist at The Miriam Hospital in Providence. He also is a staff physician at Rhode Island Hospital.

Flanigan was ordained to the permanent diaconate of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence in 2013. During his formation, he studied theology at PC. He is a deacon at St. Christopher and St. Teresa churches in Tiverton, R.I.

In 2014, Flanigan spent eight weeks in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. He helped to prepare for the reopening of St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, which closed when its health care workers contracted the virus. The Diocese of Monrovia and the Salesian Missions assisted Flanigan with his travel, and helped to ship thousands of dollars in food supplies and protective equipment, including gowns, gloves, hats, goggles, and masks. The hospital was decontaminated with bleach and staff were re-trained in procedures for dealing with infectious disease.

He joined Brown Medical School in 1991 to help establish a network of primary care for HIV-infected individuals with a focus on women, substance abusers, and people leaving prison. He developed the HIV Core Program at the state prison in Rhode Island to provide care for infected individuals, and link them to community resources upon their release.

In 2004, Flanigan received an honorary degree from Salve Regina University. He also received a Community Health Leadership award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the development of outstanding care for underserved individuals with HIV.

Flanigan and his wife, Dr. Luba L. Dumenco, have five children.
Rose Weaver has entertained audiences for more than 40 years in theatre, television, and film.

She was one of six children born into a sharecropper’s family in rural Georgia. After completing high school, she enrolled at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., where she discovered a love of the performing arts while earning a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in theatre and secondary education.


In 1973, Weaver joined Trinity Repertory Company in Providence as an acting fellow, studying under artistic director Adrian Hall. She remained with Trinity for 22 seasons. In 1994, she starred as Billie Holiday in one of Trinity Rep’s longest-running shows, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and

Grill. She also performed with the National Theatre Company, The Globe Theatre, and in Off-Broadway productions.


On television, Weaver had roles on The Brotherhood, In the Heat of the Night, Tales from the Crypt, The Young and the Restless, and L.A. Law. In film, she starred opposite Jodie Foster in The Accused and appeared in Poetic Justice and Lady in White.

In 2000, Weaver received a master’s degree in fine arts from Brown University, where she studied English, creative writing, and play writing. She wrote Menopause Mama, a one-woman play with music that tells the story of aging; Skips in the Record, which was awarded a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting; and Silhouette of a Silhouette, based on the death of her brother.


A versatile performer, Weaver has sung solo with her own jazz ensemble and with pop orchestras, narrated commercials and radio shows, and shared her knowledge as a teacher. She was a visiting instructor of theatre at Wheaton College, a teaching assistant at Brown University, and an assistant professor of theatre at Rhode Island College. She was artist-in-residence for the Providence Public Schools and Durfee High School in Fall River, Mass.


From 2005-2012, Weaver worked in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, as co-editor of the annual report magazine, supervisor of faculty support, and organizer of the Seminar Series in Electrical Engineering. She returned to Rhode Island in 2015 following the deaths of her husband, Francis LaMountain, and her son, Michael.


Weaver is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, the American Federal of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actor’s Guild of America. She was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College in 2002.

George T. Wein, a native of Boston, is considered to be as much a legend as his festivals.  Through his company, Festival Productions, he has spearheaded hundreds of music events since 1954 when he produced the first Newport Jazz Festival®  – an event which started the festival era. Five years later, Wein and folk icon Pete Seeger founded the Newport Folk Festival®.

In 1970, he founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events, beginning with The Schlitz Salute to Jazz and the Kool Jazz Festival. His company went on to produce titled events for JVC, Playboy, Mellon Bank, Verizon, Essence, Ben & Jerry’s and others.

Wein celebrated his 90th birthday in 2015, and is said to have as much creative fuel as he did when he started the Newport festivals and advanced the concept of live music. In 2010, he founded Newport Festivals Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that perpetuates the history of jazz and folk music in Newport and allows the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals to live on in perpetuity.

As a result of his diverse contributions to jazz and world culture, Wein has been honored by heads of state, educational institutions, and leading publications. He is an NEA Jazz Master (Jazz Advocate) and received a Grammy® Honorary Trustee Award in February 2015.

Among the honors and awards Wein has received include – the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and New Englander of the Year from the New England Council, honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music, Rhode Island College of Music, Five Towns College, and North Carolina Central.

He is a lifetime Honorary Trustee of Carnegie Hall and on the board at Jazz @ Lincoln Center. In addition, honors have been bestowed upon him by Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, AARP, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the French Legion d’Honneur, Chile’s Order of Bernardo O’Higgins and other organizations around the world.

In addition to his work as a producer, Wein is an accomplished jazz pianist, whose group, Newport All-Stars has toured the United States, Europe and Japan. Over the years, the Newport All-Stars has featured some of the greatest musicians in the history of jazz.

Wein’s autobiography, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music (Da Capo Press), chronicles his life in jazz and was recognized by the Jazz Journalists Association as 2004’s best book about jazz.

In addition to his life in jazz, Wein has a long history of involvement with philanthropy and the arts, including the establishment of the Joyce and George Wein Chair of African American Studies at Boston University, the Alexander Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Simmons College, and an annual artist prize given through the Studio Museum in Harlem in honor of his late wife, Joyce Alexander Wein. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation named their Jazz & Heritage Center in honor of George and his late wife, Joyce.