Joanne Trogler Reynolds ’58
A lifelong athlete and a lifelong supporter of her alma mater
All great colleges depend upon the life-long support, interest, hard work, inspired ideas and love for the College from their strongest and most committed alumni. Joanne Trogler Reynolds, Class of 1958, has been such an alumna for Bates, with wide interests, expertise, leadership and support for her college.
Jo Reynolds graduated from Bates in 1958 with a degree in history, and in an era when there were only six varsity sports for men, but none for women. For a woman of Jo’s high levels of athletic and outdoor interests, the wonder is that it did not poison her affection for her college. She chose Bates over Swarthmore and Oberlin so she could learn to ski. As a student, she did all with athletics that women could do: she played basketball, field hockey and lacrosse on intramural teams, and spent winters on a synchronized swim team, that included, since Bates did not have a pool, walks back from Auburn with their hair frozen solid. After graduation in 1958, in an early sign of her taste for both toughness and adventure, she drove 2,400 miles all over the Southwest with two dozen Girl Scouts on an archeology trip. In subsequent years, she went on to run marathons, play serious tennis, become an avid downhill skier and ski instructor, give life-long service to the Girl Scouts, climb Mt. Rainier, and do serious hiking in Switzerland, Bhutan and Nepal. At the age of 54, Jo fulfilled a life dream and through-hiked the Appalachian Trail solo, covering 15 miles a day for over five months from Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Six months after her graduation, Jo married Grant Reynolds ’57, and they have lived the Batesie marriage that all of you here tonight have heard of. Their home in Maryland has become a quite literal Bates home away from home. Several years ago, asked if Bates students doing internships in Washington might live in their house while Grant and Jo spent the summer in Vermont, there was a pause for consultation and the answer came: “The rent is mowing the lawn.” Several years of Bates interns have found the Reynolds house a wonderful alternative to dorm living, and this year’s two interns are settling in as we speak.
Jo was for 27 years a highly successful real estate broker in the D.C. area, and her business sense, superb listening ability and experience with complicated finances served her clients well, but it also gave her a set of skills and leadership for Bates. In June of 1988, Jo was elected to the Board of Trustees, and her common-sense and thoughtful approach to the work is evident in her committee work: she served both on the Conference with Students, and College Funding Committee. For three years Jo chaired the Bates Fund Committee, one of the largest fund-raising responsibilities that Bates can ask an alumna to assume.
Jo’s and Grant’s support for Bates also speaks to the breadth of their affection and understanding about what a college should offer. They make yearly gifts to Bates, but also have established a permanent Reynolds Book Fund to support purchases for the library, and a Reynolds Scholarship. There were also two gifts that will touch the hearts of rowers here tonight. In the mid-1980s, Jo and Grant gave the Bates crew team their first boat, a new 4 with a cox called the “Jonathan Y. Stanton” and two years later bought them their first 8, named the “Ernest P. Muller.” This weekend, the women’s crew team just finished at the NCAA Championships with its best finish ever, second place. The national-level athletes who come to Bates to row are following in the footsteps of Jo Reynolds, who came to ski. They have enjoyed her support with their first boats, but are also following in her footsteps as a disciplined and passionate athlete.
For her tireless enthusiasm and support for Bates, and for her lifelong dedication to athletics and the outdoor life, we are proud to offer membership in the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society to Joanne Trogler Reynolds.