As parents descend on Bowdoin this weekend, there are some who might feel a little more at home on campus.
Currently, 151 Bowdoin students are the children of one or more Bowdoin alumni. Known by admissions and the alumni council as "generational," these students have a unique connection with the College.
Tori Guen '13 whose father, Leo Guen '76 and grandfather, Edward Guen '44, both graduated from Bowdoin, was initially hesitant to follow in her family's footsteps.
"I had already seen one school and loved it... I wouldn't be here if my dad hadn't gone here," said Tori Guen. "My dad said, 'You got into Bowdoin, you should go see it.' So I came to the Bowdoin open house and, the longer I stayed, the more I liked it."
Tori Guen continued to have doubts about her status as a Bowdoin legacy even after she had been accepted.
"I felt that Bowdoin maybe only wanted me because of my legacy," she said. "It made me self-conscious, because I didn't want to be somewhere that took me because of my family."
Leo Guen was sure to expose his daughter to all of her options, without pressuring her to make a decision.
"I was very neutral and I wanted her to choose a place that was good for her," Leo Guen said. "I made sure that she attended the accepted students' open house in April. I wanted Tori to make her own decision. As a legacy, I think my concern was that she would make a decision based on pleasing me."
Alyssa Rose '11, daughter of Steven Rose '79 and Leslie Josselyn-Rose '78, was exposed to the College as a child and credits her parents for sparking her interest in the school.
"Bowdoin was the first college that I knew, so that influenced my decision", said Rose. "But when I sat down and made a list of all things I was looking for in a college, Bowdoin fit that anyways."
Steven Rose, who was president of his senior class and spent several years on the Alumni Connections Council, made sure to allow his daughter to reach a decision without his influence.
"It was never 'you should go to Bowdoin because we went there," he said. "She came to that decision on her own."
Like Alyssa Rose and Tori Guen, Casey Brust '11, the daughter of Mike Brust '77 and Mary Beth Brust '85, was initially turned off by the idea of attending Bowdoin.
"Originally, I was really against coming here because my parents both did," said Brust. "Then, the more I visited other schools, especially big schools in the south, I realized I wanted a small school basically exactly like Bowdoin."
Beyond the decision to attend the College, some students have encountered stigmas attached to the word "legacy."
"I definitely feel like there is a negative connotation and I've had to compensate for that a little," said Charlotte O'Halloran '13. Still, O'Halloran, whose father is Thomas O'Halloran '77, said, "I'm happy to be a legacy. I think it adds to the Bowdoin community and is a positive thing at a small school like Bowdoin," she added.
Steven Rose agreed that Bowdoin legacies are a positive aspect of the campus community.
"When I was a student I had met students who had dorms named after them and were clearly a legacy that went back decades," Stephen Rose said. "I think having legacies at places like Bowdoin are important because they build strong alumni associations."
While some might think that parents who are alumni may be a huge benefit to students in terms of calling home and being understood, the massive changes at Bowdoin over the past 30 years have, in fact, made the school largely unrecognizable to many parents returning this weekend.
"The social situation is entirely different because my class was the first to matriculate women and the fraternity scene was so dominating," said Steven Guen. "Of course, I know the curriculum is still good, and that hasn't changed at all. I think that the environment is different and the facilities are so much better."
Casey Brust acknowledges that her Bowdoin experience has differed from that of her parents.
"I think that there is always a comparison," Brust said. "As I've gotten older at Bowdoin, [I've found that their experiences] are extremely different than mine because their specific interests were different."
Charlotte O'Halloran sees, as far as her college experience is concerned, the only similarity between her and her dad is that they both are interested in economics.
"[My dad] said that Bowdoin has changed so much and that it's such a different place," O'Halloran said. "He definitely understands that it's still really challenging academically."
Like O'Halloran, Alyssa Rose studies some of the same subjects as her parents did, but doesn't notice any specific expectations in terms of what her Bowdoin experience should look like.
"I've had a couple of my mom's old professors in Spanish and sociology, and that's kind of funny because they might remember her, but I don't feel pressure to follow any certain path," said Rose.
Dixon, a biology major, likes the freedom of being able to have his own endeavors at Bowdoin, while still leaning on his father for support.
"There is no huge pressure from my family to succeed in any one thing," he said, "as long as I'm happy doing it."
Overall, most of Bowdoin's generational students are happy to accept the title of "legacy."
"I like being considered a legacy," Rose said. "I feel a certain connection to the school that others might not have."