Published March 22, 2019 by Bowdoin Magazine

A Family Affair

Lisa Rendall just celebrated her twentieth year working at Bowdoin, and her daughter Stephanie Rendall is halfway through her first. Bowdoin Magazine asked the duo how the College has shaped their lives—as professionals, and as a family.

Stephanie and Lisa Rendall
Stephanie and Lisa Rendall. Photo: Greta Rybus

LR: The Bowdoin connection goes back further than me! My grandfather, Terry Curran, was one of the first housekeepers to work in the Senior Center (now Coles Tower) in 1964. He also tended bar in the Cram Alumni House, and did caretaking at the River House in York County. In 1985, he was proud to share his Bowdoin affiliation with me so that I could hold my wedding reception in Cram. When Stephanie was younger, she would often be on campus after school—either in the pool for family swim, or parked on the Res Life couches doing homework and eating from the ever-present candy bowl.

SR: My memories of Bowdoin are shaped so much by how my mother chose to commit to her professional role. I remember her telling me once that she makes it her goal to attend an extracurricular activity for each Head Proctor and Resident Assistant. Because of this, I grew up attending so many sporting, December Dance Concerts, The Vagina Monologues, plays by Henrik Ibsen, The Improvabilities performances, art exhibits, and so much more.  

LR: I love working here because everyone is so willing to help one another. I can pick up the phone and call anyone in the campus directory and they’ll drop what they are doing to help. So when Stephanie told me she was applying for the Assistant First-Year Dean position, I was surprised, but very excited—that she might join such a unique place, where she could make use of her many talents.

SR: I knew Bowdoin was the place I wanted to be when I began work as the Interim Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). Working with students throughout the year, and sharing in their highs and lows was such a joy. 

LR: We now have a shared weekly meeting in Student Affairs, and we discuss any housing-related first-year issues on a regular basis. Initially I thought it might be awkward, but from my perspective it has been great—though Stephanie might have a different view!  

SR: My mother is multi-faceted, and embodies many roles. For a very long time, our relationship was solely mother-daughter, but that’s not our dynamic as colleagues! Surprisingly, referring to her as “Lisa” has come quite easily within our professional roles.

LR: Honestly, I still occasionally struggle with my email signature. “Mom” just isn’t appropriate on a work email!

Bowdoin Magazine Winter 2019
This story first appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Bowdoin Magazine. Manage your subscription and see other stories here.