The Connecticut Historical Society Elects New Trustees

July 20, 2016 · Press Releases

Hartford, Conn. (July 2016) – The Connecticut Historical Society membership has elected Portia Corbett and Dr. Stacey Close to its Board of Trustees.  As members of the board, Ms. Corbett and Dr. Close will help the CHS fulfill its mission to “connect you and the story of Connecticut” through exhibits, special events, guest speakers and research opportunities.  The three-year term appointments were made during the CHS’s annual meeting on May 23, 2016.

Dr. Close has worked in higher education for more than 20 years teaching African American, American, African, and Southern history courses. He currently serves as associate vice president for equity and diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) in Willimantic, Conn.. He also served as chairperson for ECSU’s department of history, its department of political science, philosophy, and geography; as director of its Center for Educational Excellence; and as NCAA faculty athletic representative. An accomplished lecturer, writer and leader, Dr. Close received his Ph.D. and M.A. from The Ohio State University and B.A. from Albany State College located in his native state of Georgia.

Portia Corbett is a former mortgage banker, commercial realtor and internationally awarded floral designer.  A native of Rhode Island, Ms. Corbett served as a board member for the Cobb School Montessori, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, the Farmington Garden Club, Services for the Elderly, and the Stanley-Whitman Museum. She was also a member of the House Committee for The Country Club of Farmington for 8 years, president of the 18 Hole Women’s Golf League, a member of the Finance and Building Committees for the Church of St. Patrick in Farmington, and a volunteer for the Hill-Stead Museum. She currently is president of the Farmington Historical Society, an active member of Preservation Now! and a board member for the Petit Family Foundation.

“We are fortunate to have these two exceptional people join our board and share their creativity, energy and diverse skillsets with us,” said CHS Board President Bichop Nawrot.  “Both Dr. Close and Ms. Corbett possess great passion for history and for our state which will only benefit our very active association.”

The Connecticut Historical Society ( is a private, not-for-profit educational organization that includes a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center. Founded in 1825, the CHS is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. The CHS works to connect visitors to the story of Connecticut, and to help create a society that values historical perspective and understanding as essential tools in shaping communities and making informed decisions. To accomplish that, the CHS has collected more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials related to Connecticut’s social, cultural, and family history – which are available to the public onsite at Elizabeth Street in Hartford, off-site at other locations, and online.

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