Speaker Program


Wendy Schiller

Monday August 2, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Topic: The Future Security of Elections in the American Democracy

Wendy Schiller is Professor of Political Science, International & Public Affairs, and Chair, Department of Political Science at Brown University. She did her undergraduate work in political science at the University of Chicago, served on the staffs of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Governor Mario Cuomo, and then obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. After Fellowships at the Brookings Institution and Princeton University, she came to Brown University in 1994. She teaches popular courses titled the American Presidency, Introduction to the American Political Process, and Congress and Public Policy at Brown University.


Richard Vevers

Monday, August 9, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Topic: Chasing Coral to the Ocean State

Richard Vevers is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Agency, “The Advertising Agency for the Ocean” a unique nonprofit accelerating ocean conservation action through creativity, technology and powerful partnerships. Before diving into ocean and coral reef conservation, Vevers first worked at some of the top London advertising agencies and then as an artist and underwater photographer. It is this background that has guided his unique creative and business-thinking approach to ocean conservation. His imagery, revealing what is happening to our oceans, is some of the most viewed underwater imagery of all time, and his ideas, project and public speaking have made him a leading voice in the fight to save coral reefs.


Colonel James Manni

Monday, August 16, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Topic: How Policing Has Changed in His 40 Years of Law Enforcement

Colonel James Manni was sworn in as Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of Public Safety for the State of Rhode Island in March of 2019. Col. Manni, who previously served as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service, joined the State Police in 1990, moving up through the ranks and retiring as Major in 2015. He was subsequently appointed Town Manager for the Town of Narragansett, before returning to the State Police. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Manni received an M.B.A. from Bryant University. He resides, with his family, in South Kingstown, RI.


Teresa Crean

Monday, August 23, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Topic: Coastal Resilience in Rhode Island: Adaptation in Progress

Teresa Crean is a community planner and coastal management extension specialist with the Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant Program at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Teresa is currently facilitating municipal-scale projects in Rhode Island that address coastal adaptation to climate change and sea level rise. This work involves evaluating the results of mapping exercises to clearly communicate challenges and opportunities to municipal stakeholders while collaboratively considering policies and projects that may increase resiliency in the face of potential impacts from coastal hazards and storm events. Her talk will introduce these publicly accessible online tools and share how Rhode Island is adapting to changes resulting from coastal hazards. Teresa earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, a B.S. in Environmental Policy/Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan and is a certified planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners.


Rod Mather, D.Phil

Monday, August 23, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Topic:  Wrecked Submarines Come to Life: Rhode Island’s Historic Submarines - History, Archaeology, and New Imaging Technology

Rod Mather, D.Phil. is Professor of Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology at the University of Rhode Island. He is also Chair of the History Department, Director of the Applied History Lab, and Director of the University’s Archaeology and Anthropology M.A. Program. He is best known for his studies of shipwrecks and submerged cultural landscapes around the world, including shipwrecks in Rhode Island and New England; shipwrecks in Bermuda; and a fleet of German World War I ships in the Outer Continental Shelf off Virginia. He recently initiated a maritime archaeology research program in Belize. Dr. Mather received a D.Phil. from Oxford University, U.K. and an M.A. in Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology from East Carolina University, North Carolina. He is an expert in GIS analysis and the development of GIS-based, marine cultural resource survey and inventory programs. He recently completed such a program for the State of Rhode Island. Dr. Mather is also an expert on Atlantic maritime history, New England maritime history, archaeological geophysical survey and historic ship construction.


    Today the stewardship of the South Ferry Church has passed to the Friends of the South Ferry Church, a group of concerned citizens. We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and are dependent on our many donors for the annual costs of maintaining and improving our historic building and grounds.

    Recognizing the building's priceless and irreplaceable part of the architectural historic heritage of Rhode Island, the Friend's mission is to protect the South Ferry Church from alteration or deterioration.