Campus News

Bequest to Fund Bowdoin Scholarships

Story posted January 31, 2003

Madelyn Dyer Conley, who was among the first women to earn a degree in optometry and establish an independent practice in Maine, has left a bequest valued at more than $1.2 million to Bowdoin College. Mrs. Conley, who lived in Maine and Florida, died October 10, 2001 at the age of 87.

Her gift will fund scholarships for Bowdoin students.

Conley, a descendant of Mayflower passengers John and Priscilla Alden, was the daughter of John Small Dyer, M.D., who graduated from Bowdoin's Medical School in 1904. She graduated from the University of Maine-Orono with a degree in biology in 1936, and earned a doctor of optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry in Boston in 1939. She established practices in Brunswick, Portland and Winthrop.

The recipient of many honors during her lifetime, she was recognized by the American Optometric Association for more than 50 years of service, and she was appointed to the Commission on the Status of Women by former Gov. John Reed.

She was married to Albert Conley, a chemical engineer and 1911 graduate of the University of Maine, who died in 1974. The Conleys' philanthropic activities included establishing the Albert D. and Madelyn Dyer Conley Scholarship Fund at Bowdoin in 1967 in honor of her father.

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