Pride in his work, times two: facilities staffer set to watch daughter graduate from Brandeis

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Pride in his work, times two: facilities staffer set to watch daughter graduate from Brandeis

Leonard and Robin DonohoePhoto/Robin Donohoe

Leonard Donohoe and his daughter, Robin Donohoe ’19

By Julian Cardillo ’14May 14, 2019

Many college students come to view their campus as a home away from home. But for graduating senior Robin Donohoe ’19, Brandeis came with a very tangible connection to home: her dad works here.

Robin’s dad, Leonard, has been a staff plumber in Brandeis’ facilities services for the past 15 years. He is one of 25 staff members who currently has a child enrolled at Brandeis.

Growing up in nearby Newton, Mass., meant Robin had plenty of time to get to know the campus her dad knows inside and out.

“Oh yeah, I knew a lot about Brandeis growing up,” Donohoe told BrandeisNOW. “But I also went to the Spring Fest concert on campus all through high school, I’ve done camps here, and my siblings went to Lemberg so I had been around it for a while. I was really happy to come because of those connections, plus it’s a prestigious school.”

Robin is Leonard’s oldest child. Her brother and sister are also in college, but are enrolled elsewhere – not that Leonard ever assumed Brandeis would be Robin’s no-brainer selection for college.

“It was always there,” Leonard said about premonitions he had about his daughter studying at Brandeis. “She has had a familiarity with Brandeis. She’s been coming to concerts here since she was 13 and I’m here obviously, plus she can come home easily if she needs to.”

While they live on almost completely opposite schedules – life as a Brandeis student has no “set” hours outside of class times – Robin has, on occasion, asked her father to pick up her packages and, when necessary, fix a plumbing issue in her residence hall.

“But I always go through official, university channels to fill out work requests,” Robin added. “I just ask specifically for my dad.”

As a teenager, Robin attended Spring Fest, an outdoor concert on Chapels Field every April, which helped set the tone for her extracurricular life on campus. She has been a member of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), which plans Spring Fest and other social events on campus, for most of her time at Brandeis.

The father-daughter connections extends into this aspect of her Brandeis experience, too. Robin was one of the student organizers of Spring Fest last year, and managed to get her father to help set up the concert stage.

But Leonard was also one of the musical acts. Robin entered his name for a write-in competition at last year’s Spring Fest since her father is a singer in his own rock band who opened for the Dropkick Murphys at the House of Blues in March.

With Commencement now on the horizon, this father-daughter tandem is looking forward to one more spring weekend of creating memories.

“I am excited for a new adventure and to start something different,” said Robin, who will work at Rutgers University next fall as part of Student Public Interest Research Group. “I’ve lived in Newton, I’ve lived in Waltham, and now I have an opportunity to be somewhere else.”

“I’ll be fine without my dad at my beck and call,” she added, “It has been nice to have him close by, but I haven’t relied on him too much, right?”

Leonard, laughing, chipped in: “Of course not, I’m just the person who does small chores, like a parent, since you’ve been born.”

“But it’s awesome she is graduating,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in the next phase of her life.”