Interview with Lisa McElaney ’77, Trustee, by Emma Nathaniel ’12

Lisa McElaney '77

Lisa McElaney '77

Improving over Time: Lisa McElaney’s Thoughts about Bowdoin since Coeducation

A graduate of the third fully coeducational class at Bowdoin, in 1977, Lisa McElaney is not afraid to admit that her relationship with the College has not always been exclusively positive. However, Lisa returned as a visiting faculty member for a year in the 1980s, was granted the Common Good Award in 1996, and served on the Board of Trustees for ten years in the 2000s. After a not-so-perfect beginning at Bowdoin, what brought Lisa back over the years? Click here to find out!


Audio: click below to begin listening


Intriguing Pieces:


Time: 6:11

Quote: [In reference to her first years at Bowdoin] “In retrospect I think of myself having lost my voice for a while in that first period of time at Bowdoin, a lot of my student experience there the first two years I flailed more than I ever had in life up until then. Things had gone pretty smoothly for me. I’d done well, I’d fallen into the right relationships, and I think it was a question of timing, but when I arrived at Bowdoin, that pattern went in another direction….”


Time: 36:27

Quote: [Describing her junior year as an exchange student at Wellesley] “[My roommate from Bowdoin and I] have come to Wellesley with ten other Bowdoin students as part of the Twelve College Exchange- all of them are male. We are these weird two girls who want to go to a women’s college, and the Wellesley students think we’re weird, too. You know, ‘what are you doing here?’ And I get into this dorm where I have a single, so this is also really exciting…My dorm is comprised of mostly African American, Latina, Native American women, and I am on a floor where I am in a minority…”


Time: 52:20

Quote: [Discussing the Board of Trustees] “My sense is that really great organizations like Bowdoin, and I think the leadership of Bowdoin is really terrific, is cognizant of building a board that is diverse, and I mean diverse in a lot of different ways…”


Citation: I, Emma Nathaniel, interviewed Lisa McElaney ’77 at her office in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Friday, October 21, 2011. We discussed her time at Bowdoin both as a student and later as a visiting professor and trustee.

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