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Bruce G. Sundlun
Rhode Island

Gov. Bruce G. Sundlun

  • January 1, 1991 - January 2, 1995
  • Democratic
  • January 19, 1920
  • July 21, 2011
  • Rhode Island
  • Williams College; Harvard Law School
  • Married twice, six children; second wife Marjorie Y. Lee
  • Air Force
  • Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Cluster, the Purple Heart, Chavalier, Legion l’Honneur (France), Prime Minister’s Medal (Israel)


Born in Providence, Rhode Island, BRUCE G. SUNDLUN was a captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945 and rose to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. During his military career he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Cluster, the Purple Heart, Chavalier, Legion l’Honneur (France), and the Prime Minister’s Medal (Israel). He earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College in 1946 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1949. Sundlun served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1949 to 1951 and as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General in the Civil Division of the Justice Department from 1951 to 1954. For the following two decades he was in private practice in both Washington, DC and Providence. He went on to become President of Outlet Communications from 1976 to 1984 and the company’s chair from 1984 to 1988. Sundlun was a member of the Providence School Board from 1984 to 1990, a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention of 1986, and a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions. Soon after he had taken the oath of office as governor, the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corporation (RISDIC)—insurer of Rhode Island’s chartered credit unions—failed, threatening a banking disaster. Sundlun quickly issued an executive order closing all institutions that had been insured by RISDIC, some of whose officials were ultimately implicated in the failure, and focused with other state officials on addressing fallout from the crisis. The resulting legislation established the Depositors Economic Protection Corporation to take over the assets of failed credit unions and to use the available proceeds, plus borrowed state money, to make the depositors whole. After leaving office, Sundlun went on to teach history at the University of Rhode Island. Sundlun died on July 21, 2011.


Governors of the American States, Commonwealths, and Territories, National Governors’ Association, 1994.

Leonard, Barbara M. The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 1991-1994 Manual

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

University of Rhode Island, Special Collections

Who’s Who, Vol. II, 1995. New Providence, NJ: Marquis’ Who’s Who, 1994.

Recent Rhode Island Governors