George Bria, ’38 class secretary since 2001, is a veteran Associated Press reporter, foreign correspondent and editor. After he retired in 1981, he had a second career as an AP garden columnist and also free-lanced for national newspapers and magazines. Among major stories he covered were the historic 1942 Coconut Grove nightclub fire in Boston; the war in Italy, including the surrender of the German armies and the execution of Benito Mussolini; Nurenberg war crime trials; the Berlin airlift. He was the AP’s chief United Nations correspondent in the 1970s. As an editor on the international desk in New York, he participated in coverage of the Vietnam and Middle East wars.
In 2009, George received the Amherst Alumni Distinguished Service Award for his ongoing work as class secretary. The citation called him "a beacon of light...allowing classmates to share in each other's triumphs and to bring comfort in times of sadness."
George began as a reporter for the Waterbury (CT) Democrat, his hometown newspaper, then moved to the Hartford Courant. Born in Rome, he came to America with his parents when he was six years old. He majored in English and French at Amherst and won the Genung Prize in writing. He earned an MA degree in Italian at Middlebury College. He was married to Mary Whitton, Smith '38, who died in 1998. He then married Arlette Philippous Brauer, also Smith '38. He has two children, two grandchildren and five great grandchildren. In winter he lives in Manhattan and in summer in Pound Ridge, NY.