Scott Molloy, an emeritus professor at the University of Rhode Island, historian of all things Irish, author and former Rhode Island labor leader, will lead the Providence St. Patrick’s Day parade as grand marshal.
Molloy was a longtime professor of labor and industrial relations at URI’s Schmidt Labor Research Center and has done voluminous research and written extensively about the Irish immigrant experience in the United States, and particularly Rhode Island.
Molloy, who retired in 2016 after three decades teaching at URI, was chosen as grand marshal of the annual parade by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee for his longtime contributions to Irish history and culture.
A son of Providence, Molloy will lead the parade, which is slated for March 10th between noon and 2 p.m. The parade runs through Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant and Smith Hill along Smith Street to the reviewing stand on the Smith Street entrance to the Rhode Island Statehouse.
Last year, Molloy was deputy grand marshal of the parade. As grand marshal, Molloy will be keynote speaker at the parade committee’s annual banquet at the Rhode Island Convention Center on March 1 at 6 p.m.
Molloy is the author of two well-received books on labor and Irish history in Rhode Island: “Trolley Wars” and “Irish Titan, Irish Toilers.” The first covers the streetcar workers during the Rhode Island transit strike of 1902. The second chronicles the life of Joseph Bannigan, Rhode Island’s first Irish Roman Catholic millionaire. Bannigan founded the Woonsocket Rubber Co. after the Civil War and eventually became president of the U.S. Rubber Co.
Molloy was a bus driver for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and became leader of the transit union. “Irish history and labor history are very much entwined,” says Molloy, whose Irish immigrant grandfather ran a trolley out of the same depot on Elmwood avenue in Providence from which Molloy operated a bus.
Molloy is also a well-known collector of labor memorabilia, much of it dating back to the earliest days of Rhode Island’s labor movement. His collections are currently located at the University of Rhode Island’s Carothers Library, at the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket and at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
He is a graduate of Rhode Island College. Molloy holds a master’s degree from the University of New Hampshire. He earned his doctorate in history from Providence College.