Skip to main content
Main Content

Greg Capelli was a faculty member of the Department of Biology at William & Mary.

Obituary Announcement

From a Faculty and Staff Announcement Email from Provost Michael Halleran on December 13, 2012:

"Dear Colleagues, I write with great sadness to share the news that Greg Capelli died Wednesday, December 12 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Professor Capelli recently retired as Professor Emeritus of Aquatic Biology after 38 years of service to the College. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Reed; his children, Kara Capelli and Matthew Capelli; his stepsons and their families, Frank, Lucy, Gregory, Samuel, and Ethan Albert; Daniel and XiaHua Albert; his mother, Emma Capelli; and his siblings Patricia Heidenrich, Michael Capelli, Mark Capelli, David Capelli and their families. Greg was a lover of the outdoors, gardener, photographer, avid hunter, fisherman, and persistent seeker of knowledge. Most of all, he was a dedicated family man.

As a professor, Greg served the College community as a scholar, researcher and teacher of aquatic ecology. Additionally, he dedicated his energy to the development of a course on human nature that explores how biology informs the nature of human thought and behavior. The major focus of his career was always on students, and through his dedication to excellence Professor Capelli developed generations of informed, thoughtful citizens. Throughout his career, he was a tireless champion of efforts to preserve the College Woods and Lake Matoaka for teaching and research, and as a place for quiet reflection. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Keck Environmental Laboratory on Lake Matoaka, and upon his retirement the College dedicated Capelli Cove in his honor. Colleagues and students alike have been deeply affected by his keen intellect, wisdom and compassion.

A memorial gathering will be held in honor of Professor Capelli at the College of William & Mary School of Education on Sunday, December 16 at 2:00 p.m. Please consider memorial contributions in his honor to the Greg Capelli Fund of the Biology Department at the College of William & Mary, which supports faculty-student mentoring teams to work on environmental projects. Donations to the Williamsburg Hospice House are also welcome."

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • Guide for doing research related to the College of William & Mary
  • Department of Biology Records, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William & Mary. References in Biology's newsletter The Niche:
    • March 12, 1990 - Volume 2, No. 2. Page 2, "General Ecology Will Be Offered in Summer School." Advertises teaching summer Ecology course and facilitating student research on Lake Matoaka
    • April 20, 1990 - Volume 2, No. 3. Page 3, "Faculty Plan Wide Variety of Summer Activities." Mentions summer plans including research with students on Lake Matoaka, developing a new course on the evolutionary basis of ethics, and writing chapters for a zoology textbook
    • October 12, 1990 - Volume 3, No. 1. Pages 1-2, "Biology Students Involved in Lake Matoaka Study." Article on students involved in Lake Matoaka Study with Professor Capelli. Page 5, "Faculty Have Busy Summer." Includes mention of Lake Matoaka project, teaching courses, and working on developing a new course.
    • December 7, 1990 - Volume 3, No. 2. Page 5, "A New Reading List? Biology Professors Answer: "What Three Books Have Been Most Influential in Your Life?" Picked The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: "The biggest influence in my life has been, simply, a career in biology. Biology not only gives me something to do, but also shapes my fundamental views of what life is, and what is important in life."
    • March 22, 1991 - Volume 3, No. 3. Page 2, "Honors." Mentions a student doing an honors thesis working with Professor Capelli. Page 5, "Biological Perspectives on Philosophy, New Course in Department." Article on Professor Capelli's new course. Describes the purpose of the course, the ideas the course would explore, and the importance of biology on philosophy.
    • May 3 1991 - Volume 3, No. 4. Page 7, "Faculty and Graduate Students Plan Busy Summer of Research and Travel." Mentions summer plans including working on a biology text book, working on Lake Matoaka study, and teaching summer courses.
    • October 1991 - Volume 4, No. 1. Page 3, "This Lake is Still Closed." Describes Professor Capelli's study on Lake Matoaka (both past and future) and mentions his upcoming report on the findings of his study.
    • October 1992 - Volume 5, No. 1. Page 3, "The Baldwin and Speese Memorial Award Presented to Biology and Geology Majors." Professor Capelli's student, Kimberly Pieslak, won the biology award for research on Lake Matoaka under his direction.
    • March 1993 - Volume 5, No. 2. Page 4, "Professors' Offices Receive First Annual Niche Awards." Wins "The Most Interesting Filing System/Couch Full of Manila Folders" Award.
  • Alumni Gazette:
    • Assistant professor of biology, Alumni Gazette, September 1974, p. 5
    • The Biosphere is back, Alumni Gazette, Spring 1999, 10 (picture)
  • W&M News:
    • Recipient of Summer Research Grant, W&M News, 4/6/1976, p.2
    • Presents paper, W&M News, 10/3/1978
    • Lake Matoaka set to reopen, W&M News,11/18/1992, p. 1, 4 (pictures)
  • Flat Hat:
    • Matoaka studies continue, Flat Hat, 4/13/1990, p. 1.
    • Expounds on woods, Flat Hat, 11/11/1994, p. 12.
  • There was also an article about Prof. Capelli with photo in a 2007 issue of the Virginia Informer.


Want to find out more?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for other resources to help you find materials of interest.

Questions? Have ideas or updates for articles you'd like to see? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.