News Release: Historic Huguenot Street Elects Board Members of National Importance

Experts from Vassar College and Colonial Williamsburg Among Those Elected to Bring Fresh Vision and Expertise to Hudson Valley Landmark

New Paltz, NY (June 11, 2014) - Historic Huguenot Street announced this week the election of five members to the National Historic Landmark District’s Board of Trustees. The successful candidates, whose individual expertise has earned them national recognition, were elected at the Annual Meeting held in New Paltz on Saturday, June 7.  Among them are Bill Weldon, of Colonial Williamsburg and the National Association of Interpretation; Dr. Jim Merrell, a two-time Bancroft Award winner, of Vassar College; and Phil Podmore, a highly successful businessman and avocational historian who is a leader in the healthcare technology field.  They will each serve a three-year term.   

“We are very pleased to welcome these highly distinguished individuals to our Board of Trustees,” said Mary Etta Schneider, President of Historic Huguenot Street’s Board. “As Huguenot Street moves forward into an era of ambitious and dynamic change, we need leaders with diverse, interesting, and relevant backgrounds. The talents and experience of our newest Trustees are therefore directly related to the ways in which our institution is growing – from academics to historical interpretation to international business expertise – and each will be actively involved in those exciting efforts.”

The newly elected Trustees are:

  • Dr. Jim Merrell, who has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, was also awarded the Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians. He is currently the Lucy Maynard Salmon Professor of History at Vassar College and is considered one of the nation’s foremost scholars of Early America.
  • Bill Weldon, an international expert on historic interpretation.  He is currently the Creative Director of the Revolutionary City at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, as well as Director of Cultural Interpretation and Living History of the National Association for Interpretation.
  • Philip Podmore is the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Oncology Services International, one of the world’s largest suppliers of precision healthcare instruments.  In addition to 14 years with the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, he has over 30 years of experience in the radiation industry.

Two other Trustees, who had been previously appointed to the Board, were elected to their first full terms.

  • Jay Jason, Esq., has been practicing law in both Orange and Rockland counties for over 30 years. He taught at New York University and the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations and is admitted to practice in various federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
  • Stephen Pratt Lumb, the Founding Director of Riverside Bank, where he has served as a Board Member, the Chairman of the Executive Committee, and as Acting President. A Poughkeepsie native who can trace his ancestry to 11 of the 12 founders of New Paltz, he also served as Chairman of the Boards of the Dutchess County Industrial Development Authority, the United Way of Dutchess County (1980-1981); and Vassar Brothers Hospital.

A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century.  It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve their French and Dutch heritage.  Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today.

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