George and Helen Filene Ladd

The Ladds stand with President T. Hedley Reynolds in front of the Library at the dedication ceremony, 1979. Photo courtesy of Bates College Special Collections.

George and Helen Ladd, for whom Bates College’s new library was dedicated in 1979, shared a commitment to education, a devotion to family, and a special sense of responsibility for the common life. During their lifetimes together, they supported each other’s work as college trustees, as partisans of the performing arts, and in caring about the activities of young people.

George Edgar Ladd, Jr., gave 21 years of support and counsel to Bates College as Overseer and Fellow. Upon his retirement from the board in 1977, he was granted the honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his “conviction that learned men and women are obliged to nurture a society marked by kindness, scruples, and sacrifice.” After undergraduate work at Harvard College, he began his career as a retail business executive. In 1938 he became a director of the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation, becoming president in 1957. George Ladd was instrumental in establishing public television stations in Massachusetts and Maine, and the Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University.

Helen Filene Ladd served her college, Skidmore, in a variety of ways. Class president during her junior and senior years, she was president of her alumnae class and, for many years, trustee. She received Skidmore’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for loyalty and generosity to her college, as well as for her larger career which “epitomized the productive and essential role alumnae can play”. Her civic interests included the YWCA, the Red Cross, and the Urban League. She also served as a director of the Filene Foundation.

Helen Ladd died in 1983; George Ladd, in 1986. In their quiet manner, these gracious persons enhanced the lives of generations of students. They were active in their hometown of Wayne, Maine. They gave their time and energy to many efforts in this small community, establishing the Ladd Recreation Center and serving on the public library board.