News | Administration

Barnard access attendant dies at age 70

Rudolph Lawrence, an access attendant in Barnard’s Quad since 2004, was honored at a memorial service on Wednesday.

The college announced on Monday that Lawrence had died on March 21. He was 70.

Lawrence—known to most as “Rudi”—was remembered by colleagues and students as a friendly face and a free spirit with a love of music.

“He was just an exceptional person,” Lina Del Valle, an access attendant in Brooks Hall, said. “He was always lending a shoulder that students could cry on. … He would be there for them like no other access attendant.”

“He was always like what I want to call a free spirit,” Del Valle said, adding that Lawrence went to Mardi Gras every year.

Lawrence, who leaves behind two daughters, grew up in New York, where he watched the growth of the R&B genre. He joined Barnard’s staff in February 2004 as a desk attendant, and was transferred to the Department of Public Safety in 2009.

When he wasn’t working the weekend night shift in Sulzberger Hall, Lawrence worked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, handing out show pamphlets.

Students said that Lawrence was a welcoming presence on weekend nights.

“He was one of the reasons why I wanted to live in the tower my senior year, because he was an awesome desk attendant,” Maitland Quitmeyer, BC ’14, said. “He would always welcome us home after a night out with such a warm smile, saying, ‘You girls look so nice.’ He was a sweetheart.”

“It was exciting to come home to Rudi,” Malvina Kefalas, BC ’14, said. “You felt safe and happy coming home because he knew who everyone was.”

Isamar Lopez, BC ’14 and a resident assistant who has lived on the Barnard Quad for three years, said that everyone knew Rudi by his signature “Welcome home, ladies” line.

“That’s what he said all the time, and that’s why everyone loved him, because he made it feel like home,” Lopez said.

Lopez said that she and Lawrence were very close, and that he gave students advice on everything from fashion to relationships.

“One time I came downstairs and I had asked him, ‘Is my outfit OK?’ and he was like, ‘No, go back up and change. If you are going to go out to a party you need to change,’” Lopez said.

Maria Padilla, Barnard’s Public Safety supervisor, also remembered her colleague fondly.

“He was just an incredibly intelligent, streetwise, concerned guy,” Padilla said. “He loved the students, talked to them if he saw that they looked like they were not in a good mood.”

“He loved to live life,” Padilla added.  

yasemin.akcaguner@columbiaspectator.com  |  @y_akcaguner

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BC '14 posted on

We miss you, Rudi- much love.

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BC posted on

Miss you, Rudi

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Almaz posted on

Rest in peace, Dear Rudi!

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Staceye James posted on

I used to have the funniest conversations with Rudy every other Thursday when he came to pick up his check. That man made me laugh. RIP Rudy. You and Allan keep on creating laughter!

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Anonymous posted on

RIP, Rudi.

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Janel Belle posted on

Rudi was amazing! Always ready to listen and share a story with you. RIP Rudy.

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