On June 12, THRIVE will be welcoming its newest member, Anthony Parker-Gills, as the new director of the program.
Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann announced Parker-Gills’s appointment in an email to the College on Monday. He is the current director of the McNair Scholars Program at Saint Louis University, which supports first-generation and underrepresented students in their pursuit of postgraduate degrees.
A first-generation college student himself, Parker-Gills received his bachelor’s degree in criminology & criminal Justice from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and his master’s degree in social work and doctorate in higher education administration from Saint Louis University.
Parker-Gills will replace Stephanie Rendall, who has been serving as the interim director of THRIVE since mid-September. On June 15, Rendall will return to her former position as Lead Success Coach for the Geoffrey Canada Scholars [GCS] program. Despite her change in position, she never stopped coaching. In fact, Rendall says it’s her experience as a coach that helped her succeed in her temporary position.
“It showed me that relationships are really important,” Rendall said of her coaching. “Through my work as a success coach, I met one on one with every single GCS first year and sophomore. So for the past two years, and so then this year, I knew there were a lot of students who knew me. And so when I stepped up into interim director, I had all this whole network of relationships.”
Looking ahead, Rendall is eager to step back and let Parker-Gills dive into the role and take the reins of the program.
“My goal is that Anthony Parker-Gills gets all the support from our team. We’re so excited for him to dream into the future of THRIVE,” Rendall said.
During her tenure, Rendall tried to meet THRIVE students where they were and build the program around their specific needs and aspirations.
“The sky’s the limit,” Rendall said.
One of the changes Rendall is most proud of is her transformation of the Summer Institute schedule. After hearing feedback from students who felt like they didn’t have enough of a break before the program began, and that the week-long orientation felt unnecessary, Rendall decided to shorten the program and change the structure of the campus orientation.
“This is a really sweet position to be in, because I have all this information from students just working one on one with them. And so I can, really quickly because you’re such a nimble team, make changes,” Rendall said.
As THRIVE’s direction changes course once again, Parker-Gills looks forward to watching the community grow under his leadership.
“I am truly excited to join the Bowdoin community this summer,” Parker-Gills wrote in a note to Lohmann, which she shared in her email to the College. “Throughout the entire search process the individuals I interacted with, including the students, made me feel like I was already a part of the community. I look forward to assisting our students in achieving their academic and professional goals.”