James L. Moody Jr. gives gift for endowed professorship

Bates College has received a $1.5-million gift from James L. Moody Jr. ’53, chair of the Board of Fellows at Bates and retired CEO and chairman of Hannaford Bros. Co., announced Donald W. Harward, president of Bates College. “Jim Moody’s leadership has had a fundamental contribution to the direction of Bates College as we approach our sesquicentennial in 2005,” Harward said. “His generous gift is given with the knowledge and insight that endowed chairs are essential to the academic vitality of the college.”

The gift establishes the James L. Moody Jr. Family Professorship in the Performing Arts and is a way to strengthen the foundation of Bates for future generations, says Moody. “As the years pass, I have more and more appreciation for the possible infinite life of Bates. Perhaps one has to live for a while before you get that feeling. Compared to our lives, Bates’ life can be eternal.”

The gift also reflects the Moody family’s interest in performing arts. “Bates programs in dance, theater and music not only encourage artists, but they also help others recognize the value of art in society,” Moody said. “Students who engage in the arts at Bates get fulfillment from their own participation. They provide enjoyment for others in the community. Those people, in turn, appreciate the gift of the artists, and carry that appreciation into their lives after Bates. Our lives are richer and so becomes society.” Moody, the son of a 1929 Bates alumna who taught school in Gorham, came to Bates hoping to be a teacher, but left eager to join the business world. In 1959, Moody joined Maine based Hannaford Bros. Co. and rose rapidly through the ranks. He served 19 years as chief executive officer and five years as board chairman before retiring fully in 1997. Under Moody, Hannaford grew from a small Maine wholesaler to a $2.9-billion regional grocery retailer.

In June, Moody will retire as chairman of the board of trustees at Bates College, a position he has held for 14 years. He has been a Bates trustee for 23 years.

“No role of institutional leadership is more important than that of being board chair,” said Harward, who will retire himself in 2002 after 12 years as Bates College president. “Jim Moody, as board chair, has been a graceful and wise friend of the college and a resourceful and reliable partner in leadership. We are in his debt.”

Moody’s philanthropy at Bates has often dovetailed with the college’s highest fund-raising objectives. In the 1970s, he helped to endow a chair in honor of Charles F. Phillips, president from 1944 to 1967. In 1992, he gave the first $1-million gift ever received by the college, initiating the 1991-96 Bates Campaign. His contributions to the Ursula P. and Frederick B. Pettengill Hall, dedicated in October 1999, helped complete one of the college’s most ambitious building projects. Of his latest gift for the endowed professorship, Moody felt it important to, “encourage others to be as optimistic about Bates’ future as I am.”

A recognized corporate and community leader in Maine, Moody has served as a director of several publicly-held companies including UnumProvident, Staples Inc. and the IDEXX Laboratories. His public service has included serving as director of the Portland United Way and chairman of the board of Maine Medical Center.

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