Farewell to a Bowdoin Friend: Remembering A. LeRoy Greason

A. LeRoy Greason

A. LeRoy Greason Jr., a dedicated educator and gifted leader who devoted 38 years to Bowdoin as a professor, dean and president, died over the weekend at the age of 88. In a letter to the Bowdoin community, President Mills writes of Greason’s impact on the College and his lasting legacy.

A memorial service will be held Friday, September 2, at 10:30 a.m. at First Parish Church in Brunswick. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Bowdoin College, 4100 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011, or to another of the organizations that Roy Greason supported with his time, talents, and resources.


  1. Jack Abbott '63 says:

    Let me be one of the first here to express my sympathies to the family and great admiration for Roy. As Dean of Students, Roy was my first mentor. I shall never forget the his guidance and kind attention from the time I returned from the United States Marine Corps to graduation.

  2. Niland Mortimer says:

    I fondly remember Professor Greason teaching 18th century English literature, which has been a favorite period ever since. His dedication to Bowdoin has been a source of admiration and inspiration. He will be missed.

  3. Donald G. Alexander '64 says:

    Beyond the wide range of community activities cited in President Mills letter, Roy Greason was also one of the pioneers in court connected mediation here in Maine. While he was Dean of the College in the late ’70s, he and Professor Paul Hazelton regularly came to the Brunswick District Court to provide mediation services in small claims cases. Despite his busy schedule as Dean, Roy also sometimes traveled to provide mediation in other courts because we judges appreciated his service so much. He had superb mediation skills, relating well to people of diverse backgrounds and education levels, and quietly settling many cases that judges otherwise would have ad to hear. He helped set the model for our later development of court connected mediation programs.

  4. Steve Houldsworth '86 says:

    President Greason was a true gentleman. My sympathies to his family. The Bowdoin community as a whole is diminished by his passing. When I performed as a freshman in a Brunswock community theater production of The Mikado, President Greason sent me a handwritten note thanking me for “aiding in town/gown relations” and commenting on the overall quality of the production. It was one of many notes I received from him in my Moulton Union mailbox over my four years at Bowdoin. I was so impressed. His actions still inspire me to make those individual connections in my community, in my work, and in my life.

  5. Keith Halloran '77 says:

    A true gentleman and a scholar, mentor, apt orchestrator, deft healer. A fine and solid and enduring example of quiet yet strong leadership now a part of Bowdoin’s beloved legacies forever. Well done, Professor Greason !!!

  6. Louis B. Briasco says:

    Ave atque vale, Roy!

  7. Marcy Levesque Holmblad '85 says:

    I also received a personal note from President Greason while I was a student, regarding the passing of my father. It is something I will never forget. My deep sympathies are extended to his family.

  8. Nina Jordan '86 says:

    I have very fond memories of President Greason. He was truly kind to me in a time of need. My sympathies to his family.

  9. Mary Jo Keaney says:

    President Greason cared about his students and his faculty. Not only did he send personal notes to me to congratulate me about my passions as an undergraduate – theater, classics and the Orient. He also listened to me and Charlie Bacall when we questioned the denial of tenure of a wonderful professor. After meeting with Charlie and me, and reading all the testimonials we collected from over 300 graduates, he overturned a tenure decision for the first time in the history of the College! President Greason listened, and we, his students, listened to him. God Bless him and sympathies to his family.

  10. John Halperin '63 says:

    Roy Greason was in many ways a great man, a scholar and a gentleman. He was a superb teacher, perhaps the best in a Department that included in my day Larry Hall, Louis Coxe,and Herbert Ross Brown. He taught classes that were to be models for young literature students like myself. He was so wonderfully precise and lucid. I always enjoyed talking with him and will miss him dearly.

  11. Barbara Kaster says:

    I was honored to serve on the Presidential Search Committee. The chair was Ev Pope ’41, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in World War II. Ev and I realized early on that our acting president, Roy Greason, was doing an excellent job. We talked to the committee and they agreed. Roy, indeed, was a wonderful president. I was honored to work with Roy to re-establish distribution requirements and to greatly increase the number of women on the faculty. Both Roy and his much loved wife, Polly, will be missed.

  12. Mike Coster 57 says:

    Great person–Great teacher—great President—-“one of Bowdoin’s greatest “

  13. Merton G. Henry '50 says:

    My deepest sympathy to the Greason family. Roy was one of the finest people I have ever known. He was the last faculty member appointed by President Sills. In 1981 he gave up his cherished teaching role to become President of the College in one of its most difficult times. He healed wounds, pulled the College back together and got it moving forward again. It was my privilege to work closely with him in that period as first Chair of the Board of Trustees when that office was created just as he became President. He and Polly presided over Bowdoin with grace and tact for ten years to culminate his already distinguished career at the College as a teacher and administrator.

  14. Judith Ocker Schulz '83 says:

    I can still remember watching a videotape of “Waiting for Godot” at his house with my fellow freshman English seminar students. Polly had made dinner for us all (eight students?). And, we enjoyed homemade chocoate-chip cookies for dessert and listening to Dr. Greason chat about Theatre of the Absurd and all things Bowdoin… We all walked back to our dorms feeling a bit wiser on many fronts. More at home. More excited for the next journey. A very special man.

  15. Elizabeth Ring says:

    Teacher, dean, president, neighbor, friend, supporter of the theatre. There is so much to remember about Roy. His smile will linger with us all together with the wisdom he shared and the joy of knowing him and Polly. The remembrances at his service today captured so much. Thank you.

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