Renata Formo Ledwick, artist and former assistant director of alumni relations at Bowdoin—known and loved by many students and alums through her involvement with Reunion Weekend and regional alumni event work—passed away on March 18 after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 42 years old.
Ledwick was known to both friends and coworkers as an unflagging positive spirit and a creative soul with a great sense of humor. She came to Bowdoin 14 years ago—after growing up in Minnesota and attending St. Olaf College—drawn to Maine by a desire to paint the oceans.
“She wanted to create beauty, wanted to create friendship, wanted to be part of a community, wanted to be by the ocean, wanted opportunities to bring art and beauty into her home and friendships and children and yard,” said Director of Residential Life Meadow Davis, who first befriended Ledwick when their then-infants attended the Bowdoin College Children’s Center together.
“She was really one of those people who just brought beauty everywhere,” said Davis. “Not everyone would think of Alumni Relations as a place where you could bring art and beauty, but Ren really did.”
“She had this happiness, this creative spirit that really made us think in different ways, which we’re going to miss,” said Rodie Flaherty Lloyd ’80, director of alumni relations, who worked closely with Ledwick for 10 years.
This sentiment was widely shared by those who knew her.
“Everything Ren did had ‘Renata’s touch’ on it—nothing was run of the mill,” said Associate Director of Alumni Relations Sarah Cameron ’05, who also worked closely with Ledwick. “Ren never just churned something out.”
“She was adventurous in the typical ways—sailing and hiking and traveling—but also in the sense that she was a searcher. She would get an image of what she wanted something to look like and she would search until she found just the right thing,” said Davis. “You saw this in her artwork and how some of her art was painted on cabinet doors rather than canvases and you saw it in her home, where each object has a meaning.”
Ledwick was known as a truly genuine mother, friend and coworker. She did art projects with her two children and read to them every night, had a love for gardening and interior design and made friends easily with everyone from baristas to alums to people in Brunswick, bringing smiles and laughter with her through the world. She personally created floral arrangements for each 25th Reunion class with flowers from her garden.
“Her kindness and her generosity and positivity were things that she just brought with her,” said Davis. “I think some people are a different person at work and a different person at home, and I think with Ren, she was the same person at both of those places.”
“We could not have had the successful program of events that we did all those years without her hard work, support, and wisdom,” wrote Abbot Kominers ’78, former president of the Bowdoin Club of Washington, D.C., in an email to the Orient. “Renata was also my friend and a genuinely good human being.”
Ledwick lived with her husband Chris ’95 and her two children in Brunswick.
“Renata was a wonderful friend and coworker and was a mother that I deeply admired,” said Davis. “Her family was absolutely at the center of her world and Chris and the kids brought her such joy that whenever she would talk about them her face would light up,” said Davis.
“Renata never had a mean word about anybody. She always saw something redeeming, something good,” said Lloyd. “That’s just how she saw the world.”