Harry K. Warren

Harry K. Warren, director of  Moulton Union, director of career counseling and placement/career services, and secretary of the college emeritus, died on August 20, 2016, in Brunswick.

President Rose sent the following message to the Bowdoin community on August 22, 2016:

To the Bowdoin community,

I am sorry to inform you that Harry K. Warren, 85, died Saturday night at his home in Brunswick.

Harry, who was surrounded by family when he passed away, devoted more than three decades of service to Bowdoin. He began at the College as assistant director and then as director of the Moulton Union (1965-1990), director of career counseling and placement/career services (1972-1990), coordinator of summer programs (1969-76), secretary of the board of overseers (1986-1994), and secretary of the College (1991-1997). He cherished his personal connections to generations of Bowdoin students and their families and to alumni, faculty, and staff; his warmth and genuine concern for the welfare of others earned him a special place in the hearts of the Bowdoin family. The very mention of Harry’s name on campus—no surname needed—provoked a smile and the memory of one or more of his unheralded acts of kindness.

Harry was born on January 3, 1931, in Philadelphia, and graduated from Swarthmore High School. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. A gifted athlete and natural leader, he was captain of Penn’s 1951 varsity football team that competed on the national stage against teams from the University of California, Wisconsin, Army, and Navy. He married Judith Dickson, his high school sweetheart, on August 30, 1952.

Immediately after graduating from Penn, Harry launched a career with the IBM Corporation, starting in its Philadelphia sales office. After a brief tour of duty with the US Navy from 1955-57, he held sales and management positions with IBM in Chester, PA, Hartford, CT, Providence, RI, White Plains, NY, and Concord, NH. The Warrens came to Brunswick in 1965, and Harry was hired by Don Lancaster ’27 as assistant director of the Moulton Union. He soon acquired other titles and responsibilities at the College. He expanded and professionalized the career counseling and placement office, and he established Young Alumni Advisory committees in several cities across the country. As secretary of the college, Harry gave his personal touch to tens of thousands of gift acknowledgement letters, and for many years he wrote “The Whispering Pines” newsletter to keep alumni up to date on life at Bowdoin. 

Harry and Judy welcomed international students into their home during vacations, and on more than one occasion Harry shuttled students to the airport to make sure that they made their flights home. Beginning in the early 1990s, Harry and Judy “adopted” the women’s hockey program. They made a point of meeting players and inviting them in small groups for dinner in the Warren home. Harry and Judy also invited the parents of players who had traveled a long distance to see a game to be their overnight guests. 

One would be hard-pressed to find better ambassadors of the College than the Warrens. In fact, when President Bob Edwards was unable to accompany the football team to Ireland for an exhibition game against Tufts, Harry was asked to represent the College. A knowledgeable and loyal fan of Bowdoin athletics, Harry volunteered as a track official (1966-2012) and as the clock and scoreboard operator at home hockey (1971-1996) and football games (1986-1995). He had a special bond with the members of Psi Upsilon Fraternity, and he served as an advisor and past president and director of the fraternity house corporation.

One of the letters in support of his nomination for the 1989 Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff summed it up nicely: “…he has not received much public recognition. He hasn’t sought it—that’s one of his endearing qualities—but he certainly deserves it.” Harry accepted that award, and the honors that followed, with characteristic modesty and grace. He became secretary of the board of overseers emeritus in 1995. The Warren Dining Room in the Moulton Union was named in his honor in 1997. Upon his retirement that same year, the board of trustees voted him emeritus status as director of Moulton Union, director of career counseling and placement/career services, and secretary of the college. In 1998 the Alumni Council established the Harry K. Warren Trophy for the two reunion classes achieving the highest level of participation in the Alumni Fund.  

Harry was active in the local community as well. He was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he served on the vestry and as a junior warden, and he was for many years a lay reader in Brunswick and Richmond. For fifteen years he served as a corporator and trustee of Brunswick Savings Institution and Coastal Saving Bank. For the Town of Brunswick, he served on the Citizens Advisory Committee, as secretary of the Civil Service Commission, and as vice-chairman of the Town Charter Committee. He also served as a corporator of Regional Memorial Hospital, on the board of United Way, and was a board member and past president of Independence Association, a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with disabilities. In his retirement, he volunteered with the eldercare organization Neighbors, Inc., the Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program, and as a polling-place worker on election days.

Memorial arrangements are pending and will be conveyed to the Bowdoin community when they become available.

I know each of you joins me in extending the deep condolences of a grateful College to Judy, Harry’s wife of nearly sixty-four years; sons Douglas M. Warren (Pamela Berry) and David D. Warren (Janet); daughter Susan K. Warren-Hanley (Joseph); five grandchildren; his sister, Helen C. Warren; and his brother, George P. Warren Jr. 

Our community is saddened by his passing, but we celebrate Harry’s remarkable life and spirit and are so appreciative of his contributions and devotion to Bowdoin over these many years.

Sincerely,

Clayton Rose  

11 Comments Harry K. Warren

  1. Jerry LeVasseur

    My condolences to Judy and the family.
    We, his tennis old timers, will miss him. Harry played until recently always one of the best on the court. It was an honor to be his partner. We will never forget his athletic ability and the fun we had.
    I remember one time being down 5 games and we said to each other, “Let’s do it” and we won the set.
    Harry you are in our prayers.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Tessler '79

    A warmer, kinder, more gracious man you could not meet. Harry was one of a kind. I feel so fortunate to have known him and to have worked together for so many years.

    My heart goes out to Judy, the Warren family, and the entire Bowdoin community on the news of this profound loss.

    Lisa Tessler ’79

    Reply
  3. Nessa Burns Reifsnyder

    How blessed I was to work for Harry Warren and his colleagues at M.U. in the summer and fall of 1985. Harry was an excellent boss and managed that multiplex facility with kindness and class, making it seem effortless. I conducted tours, greeted visitors at the front desk, subbed on the immense old switchboard while Ginny took her lunches, and worked in the Career Services office every afternoon. In hindsight, this was fantastic prep for several jobs I’ve held since that time. Many things about Bowdoin College prompt gratitude as I reflect on those years; having known Harry Warren, worked for his enterprise, and enjoyed his company is most definitely among them. My condolences to all who mourn him…and kudos, Harry, for a life well lived.

    Reply
  4. Richard Saunders

    I am sure others share the memory of visiting the Warrens for dinner and being welcomed with a large bowl of freshly shelled lobster which Harry had caught in his own traps. My recollection is that in 1970 (when I worked in the admissions office) and Harry and Judy had met the 5 year residency requirement to set your own lobster traps, this meant they were now really Mainers! What great memories.
    Richard Saunders ’70

    Reply
  5. Richard Saunders

    I am sure others share the memory of visiting the Warrens for dinner and being welcomed with a large bowl of freshly shelled lobster which Harry had caught in his own traps. My recollection is that in 1970 (when I worked in the admissions office) and Harry and Judy had met the 5 year residency requirement to set your own lobster traps, this meant they were now really Mainers! What great memories.
    Richard Saunders ’70

    Reply
  6. Mario Brossi

    Harry Warren was a true Gentleman and Exemplar of what Bowdoin stands for.

    As an “international student” way back in the seventies I had the pleasure of getting to know him early and often. Despite all those encounters I had no clue about his accomplished football past. He was always private and kept his cards close to the vest. He will be missed.

    Mario Brossi
    Bowdoin, Class of 1974

    Reply

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