Lee C. Bradley '43
Class of 1943 Teaching Chair

Although Lee C. Bradley ’43 graduated from Princeton University and eventually (after Naval service in World War II) went on to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, he once told his brother, Merrill ’45, that he was much closer to his class at Exeter than to his college and graduate school classes. "He felt Exeter had prepared him well for anything the academic world could throw at him," recalls Merrill.

Lee, a vastly talented student who received the Prize for General Excellence in his senior year at the Academy, passed away in March 2001, but his legacy will live on at Exeter through an extremely generous bequest. Through Lee’s will, Merrill and his sister, Earle B. Murray, have created the Lee C. Bradley III Class of 1943 Academy Teaching Chair. This fund will support a senior member of the faculty who has contributed significantly to teaching and learning at Exeter.

After returning from Oxford, Lee himself became a teacher—an assistant professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, says Merrill, Lee was known as a gifted instructor, someone who could take a complex problem and explain it in terms that were easy to understand. Lee’s passion for theory later took him to Lincoln Laboratory, where he conducted research on lasers and optics for 30 years, until his retirement.

Of his brother’s wonderful philanthropy, Merrill says, "Lee was always generous. He never married or had children, so in a sense, his interests became his children." Exeter is proud indeed to have been considered a member of the family of Lee C. Bradley ’43, the accomplished physicist from Birmingham, Alabama.