Ronald J. Onorato holds degrees in Art History from Rutgers College (BA, High Honors) and Brown University (MA and PhD). In addition to the Introductory Renaissance to Modern survey his teaching covers a broad range of courses from American and Contemporary art and architectural history to the History of Photography, Film History and American material culture. He also teaches several field courses every year on Newport Architecture, and other New England topics with site visits ranging from graveyards and colonial townscapes to industrial sites, sculptural monuments and historical districts. A member of the Honors faculty, he teaches a special art history based seminar every year for honors students.
Onorato is a nationally known expert on the architectural and sculptural heritage of Newport from the colonial period to the present and is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, Rhode Island Chapter. He has held positions in a number of art museums including Senior curator at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in California and at the New York Cultural Center in Manhattan and has been the recipient of fellowships from amongst others the Wyeth Foundation, the Prince Foundation and the URI Humanities Center and as principal investigator on several projects from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Serving as a commissioner on the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage commission he is also a member of the National Register of Historic Places Review Board. He has been on the Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Commission and a Board officer of several art and historical organizations such as the Newport Historical Society, the Newport Art Museum and the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society.