Frederick Lippitt was elected a lifetime member of the Brown University Board of Fellows in 1979. He also served on the Board of Trustees (1963-1970). He was a member of the John Carter Brown Library Board of Directors (1973-1996), the Sheridan Center Advisory Board (1997-2003), and the Sub-Committee to examine Polices Regarding South African Investments (1985-1986). His extensive committee activities included Academic Affairs (1996-2005), Biomedical Affairs (1997-2000), Facilities and Design (1967-2005), Minority Affairs (1978-1991), and Undergraduate Education (1990-1996).
In 1977, Brown awarded Lippitt an honorary doctor of laws degree for his dedicated public service. In 2004 Frederick Lippitt, and his sister Mary Ann Lippitt received the President?s Medal for their years of "supporting (Brown?s) mission with their remarkable legacy of service and philanthropy."
Lippitt, a former partner in the prominent Providence law firm Edwards & Angell, served as a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1961 to 1983, including ten years as the House Minority Leader. He worked for improved government procedures, Medicare for the elderly, and stronger open meeting and conflict of interest laws. He was particularly influential in the passage of Rhode Island?s Fair Housing Practices Act of 1968.
He ran for election as Mayor of Providence three times, losing by only a few hundred votes in 1984 and 1990. Mayor Joseph Paolino appointed him a judge of the Housing Court for 1989-90, and from 1985-1989 he served as the Director of the Department of Administration for the State of Rhode Island.
For fifty years Frederick Lippitt devoted himself to charitable and civic causes, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Rhode Island Hospital, Chairman of the Board of the Providence Plan, and Head of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. He was an early supporter of the innovative Metropolitan Career and Technical School in Providence. He served on the Board of the Rhode Island School of Design, the Nature Conservancy, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, the John E. Fogarty Foundation for the Mentally Retarded, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Providence, the Trust for Public Lands, and the Southside Community Land Trust. As chairman of the Providence Plan, he led the effort to raise over twelve million dollars to restore the Woonasquatucket River and the adjacent greenway that now boasts three parks and the Buttonhole Golf Course.
Commitment to civic service was a hallmark of the Lippitt family. Born in Washington, D.C. on December 29, 1916, Frederick Lippitt was the son of United States Senator Henry F. Lippitt and Lucy Hayes Herron Lippitt. He was the grandson of Rhode Island Governor Henry Lippitt and the nephew of Governor Charles Warren Lippitt. His aunt Helen Herron married United States President William Henry Taft, and his cousin was the United States Senator from Rhode Island John Chaffee.
Lippitt received a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in 1939 and a bachelor of laws degree in 1946. He interrupted his studies at Yale Law School to join the Army. During World War II he served in the Philippines and Italy, receiving a bronze star and a purple heart. During the Korean War, he served two years in Germany. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and the commanding officer of the Rhode Island National Guard 103rd Field Artillery in 1963.
Frederick Lippitt never married. He lived with his unmarried his sister Mary Ann Lippitt until his death at home in Providence on May 11, 2005 at the age of 88 from heart failure. In death, as in life, Lippitt was extremely generous to Brown. He left upwards of $6 million dollars to the University distributed in part to two professorship endowments: one in his sister Mary Ann?s name in American history, and one in his own name in public policy. Following his sister?s death in 2006, and according to the terms of his will, the family?s brick house at 108 Prospect St., where the siblings had lived since the 1950s, was bequeathed to the University. The house, assessed at more than $2.3 million, was built in 1873 for cotton manufacture James Kimball and includes a two-story brick stable behind the main house.
The Lippitt family made its money from textile production, and over the years owned several mills and dyeing facilities, including the Lippitt Mill on the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The family directed much of its fortune to public philanthropy. A Rhode Island history written in 1932 said that one of Lippitt?s forefathers "wrought most potently for the advent of Rhode Island along economic, social, and political lines" and that "his fine family of sons and daughters continued to work for humanity."
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See more Lippitt memorials in:
Records on Ancestry
U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
1930 United States Federal Census
1920 United States Federal Census
1940 United States Federal Census
U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
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