When people think about Bowdoin, two things come to mind. For the latter, Polar Bears can thank Lester Prue the unit manager of Moulton Union Dining Hall for Bowdoin Dining Service.
“I think Bowdoin’s commitment to quality is actually part of why I applied here in the first place,” said Prue. “People here love their jobs and take pride in what they do.”
Born and raised in the western region of Maine, Prue started his career at Bowdoin in 1976. He originally discovered the beauty of midcoast Maine after spending a few summers working in lobster shacks in the Brunswick area. It was while working at one of these shacks that he heard about an open position as a cook for Bowdoin’s fraternities. He jumped on the opportunity to stay in Brunswick full-time. 

Prue, who now calls Portland home, says that he enjoys his current position. Nonetheless, he admits missing the student interaction and personal relationships he built by being in more interactive Bowdoin Dining Positions.

“[My first job] was a good way to get to know the students well,” he said. “I’m actually still in touch with a couple of them.” 

While he can still be seen in the serving line and helping out in the Moulton kitchen, Prue has moved toward the administrative side of dining.

As the Unit Manager, he oversees all operations of the Moulton Dining Hall, from staff scheduling to menu design.

“I follow an 8:00 am to 5:00 pm schedule now,” he said.  

A 39-year veteran of Bowdoin Dining—he jokes that Joshua Chamberlain graduated right before he started working here—Prue is no stranger to change. President-elect Rose will be Bowdoin’s sixth president since Prue started his career here and he doesn’t anticipate major changes with regards to dining services as a result of a new president. 

While each President brings a unique perspective and personality to the job, Prue says Bowdoin Dining remains consistent. He asserts that Dining has been strong for his entire career.

“Bowdoin is well-known across the country [for its food],” he said. “I love that when I go to conferences and meetings people know our name.” 

According to him, the biggest changes he has seen during his time here have been in the diversity of recipes used, increasing over the years to better reflect the growing diversity of Bowdoin students’ and dietary restrictions. He also notes that Bowdoin has become much more conscious of buying locally-sourced food. 

In addition to the oft-cited ethical reasons for eating locally, changes to sourcing methods also have a practical purpose: helping to mitigate the rising cost of food. Prue identifies addressing this issue as the biggest challenge Bowdoin Dining Service currently faces, and says that it is likely one they will face for many years to come. 

Outside of Bowdoin, Prue can often be found exploring the vibrant restaurant scene in Portland, cycling along the coast, or spending time with his nine grandchildren.

For Prue, working for Bowdoin Dining Service has been a career well spent. Bowdoin has been an important part of his life for nearly four decades and he looks forward to its continued importance for years to come.