Ralph T. Perry ’51
As an undergraduate, Ralph T. Perry ’51 honed his amore ac studio spirit in Bates athletics. As an alumnus, he emerged as Bates’ most generous donor.
As an undergraduate, Ralph T. Perry ’51 honed his amore ac studio spirit in Bates athletics, earning eight varsity letters, in football, baseball and basketball, while majoring in history. An entrepreneur, he is the retired founder of Progressive Distributors in Winthrop, now a subsidiary of the Hannaford Brothers grocery chain. Under Ralph’s guidance, Progressive grew from a $1 million business with 10 employees in 1967 to a $75 million business with 300 employees in 1987. During the 1990s, Ralph emerged as Bates’ most generous living donor, establishing a significant endowment to support financial aid for Maine students and for academic programs. His gifts have supported initiatives including the creation of the Joan Holmes Perry ’51 Atrium within Pettengill Hall, in memory of his first wife, and the recent establishment of the Helen A. Papaioanou, M.D. ’49 Chair in the Biological Sciences. Ralph and his wife, Mary Louise Seldenfleur, currently serve on the leadership committee for The Campaign for Bates — Endowing Our Values.