Thomas Reynolds
Thomas Reynolds

Obituary of Thomas Hedley Reynolds

>Thomas Hedley Reynolds, known for nearly three decades of >transformational leadership at two Maine educational institutions, died >Tuesday, Sept. 22, at his home in Newcastle, Maine, after a long >illness. He was 88 years old. His wife of 24 years, Mary Bartlett >Reynolds, was with him at the time of death. > >Reynolds served as president of Bates College from 1967 through 1989, >and of the University of New England from 1990 to 1995. His success as >commander of an armored unit in the Mediterranean theater of World War >II came to symbolize Reynolds' qualities as an academic >leader: far-reaching vision, decisiveness and energetic determination. > >At Bates, Reynolds presided over a regional school's evolution into a >national liberal arts college now regarded as one of the nation's best. >He led Bates to strengthen its faculty and curriculum, add such key >facilities as a modern library and arts center, diversify its student >body and eliminate the SAT requirement. > >"He brought a renewed sense of confidence and purpose," says John Cole, >a faculty member who arrived soon after Reynolds and now holds an >endowed history professorship bearing Reynolds' name. "He enlarged this >place, invigorated it, professionalized it." > >Reynolds left retirement to become the third president of the >University of New England. Originally taking the position on a >short-term basis, Reynolds ended up giving that growing institution >five years of valuable service. "He saw something here, material in the >raw that had the potentiality for greatness," UNE trustee Neil Rolde >wrote in a 1995 tribute to Reynolds in "Coastlines," the UNE magazine. > >Reynolds was born on Nov. 23, 1920, in New York, the son of Wallace and >Helen (Hedley) Reynolds. He attended The Browning School in New York >City and Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, from which he graduated in >1938. In 1942 he earned a bachelor's degree in political science at >Williams College. > >With America embroiled in World War II, Reynolds enlisted in the U.S. >Army and was decorated for his service as a unit commander in a tank >battalion that fought in the Mediterranean theater. After the war, he >earned a master's degree in 1947 and a doctorate in history in 1953, >both from Columbia University. > >Reynolds joined the history faculty at Middlebury College in 1949. >He remained at Middlebury for 18 years, becoming dean of men in 1957 >and dean of the college seven years later. > >Reynolds became Bates' fifth president in January 1967. The expansion >and evolution that distinguished his tenure touched nearly every facet >of the Bates experience, from student life to academics, from physical >facilities to college finances. > >"Throughout his presidency, his core interest was developing the >quality of the faculty, and consequently the quality of the curriculum >and of the undergraduate experience," says Carl Benton Straub, a >professor emeritus of religion and the Clark A. Griffith Professor >Emeritus of Environmental Studies. Straub served as dean of faculty >under Reynolds for 15 years. > >Reynolds led Bates in diversifying its student body -- academically, >geographically, ethnically and racially. It was during his tenure that >the college ceased to require that student applicants report their SAT >scores, a move that widened the range of accepted students without >affecting academic standards, as later Bates studies showed. > >In addition, Reynolds' tenure at Bates saw the construction of a new >library, an arts center, a field house and the conversion of the former >women's athletic building into the Edmund S. Muskie Archives. > >Reynolds took the helm of the University of New England just 12 years >after that institution was born from the merger of a small liberal arts >college and a school of osteopathic medicine. His tenure was marked by >steady increases in student enrollment, academic prestige and financial >capability. A signal Reynolds achievement was the construction of the >Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences. > >Off campus, Reynolds served as a director of the Public Broadcasting >Service in Washington, D.C., and as a trustee and chairman of the board >of WCBB-TV in Lewiston; a member and director of the National >Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; a director and >president of the New England Colleges Fund; and as chair of the >Governor's Special Commission on the Status of Education in >Maine. Known on campus as a private man, Reynolds was a voracious >reader and an outdoorsman who enjoyed skiing, tennis and particularly sailing. > >Reynolds was predeceased by his parents and by a son, David Hewson >Reynolds, one of four children born during his marriage to Jean Fine >Lytle. They married in 1943. In addition to his wife and Jean Lytle of >Randolph, Vt., he is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Reynolds Henderson >of Locust Valley, N.Y.; two sons, Thomas Scott Reynolds of West >Tisbury, Mass., and John Hedley Reynolds of Stannard, Vt.; and a >daughter, Tay R. Simpson, also of Randolph. > >A memorial service for former Bates College and University of New >England president Thomas Hedley Reynolds, who died Sept. 22 at his home >in Newcastle, Maine, takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in the >College Chapel at Bates College, College Street, Lewiston. >For more information, please call the Office of the President, Bates >College, at 207-786-6102. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to >The Thomas Hedley Reynolds Professorship in History, in care of the >Office of College Advancement, Bates College, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston, >Maine 04240 or to the scholarship fund at the University of New England >in President Reynolds' memory, in care of Scott Marchildon, assistant >vice president of institutional advancement, UNE, 716 Stevens Ave., >Portland, Maine 04103; telephone 207-221-4230.
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