From Bates Views:

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, in Biddeford. (The university added a Portland campus in 1996.) 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. “That is perhaps his greatest gift to what is, after all, a fledgling institution, now on its feet, no longer shaky, ready to flex its muscles.”

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 served as a unit commander in a tank battalion that fought in North Africa and Italy. Reynolds earned the Army’s Bronze Star and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.

Link to complete obituary

A memorial service for President Emeritus Reynolds takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in the Bates College Chapel, College Street. 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 ’95, assistant vice president of institutional advancement, UNE, 716 Stevens Ave., Portland, Maine 04103; telephone 207-221-4230.

Reynolds’ contributions to Bates are documented in his administration files, available at the Muskie Archives and described online.

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