Humans of Merrimack creator to address undergraduates

Merrimack's undergraduate commencement speaker Chloe Rothman was pretty well known at school through her heroics on the basketball court and the omnipresent scooter she used to get around campus but she managed to keep a big secret for weeks when she began authoring the Merrimack Humans Facebook page.

“I wanted people to find commonalities and come together through commonalities because that’s what I do,” Rothman said.

Rothman will continue giving voice to the student body through her role as student speaker during commencement that starts Sunday May 17 at 10 a.m. The college is awarding degrees to about 600 students from the schools of Liberal Arts, Science and Engineering, Education and Social Policy, and the Girard School of Business.

Like so many graduates, Rothman is emotionally torn as she prepares to graduate.

“I’m going to miss this place so much but it’s so exciting to graduate,” she said. “I’m excited to see what comes next. I’m waiting to see the next opportunity.”

Rothman, 21, is hoping to play professional women’s basketball overseas. She’s hired an agent who is looking at opportunities, including Israel.

Rothman started playing basketball when she was 5 years old and isn’t ready to give it up competitively.

“If I get on a team I’ll know by the end of summer,” she said.

Rothman’s inquisitiveness comes from her father Ira Rothman and her writing inspiration comes from the oldest of her three brothers, Max.

As a girl Rothman was amazed to learn during car rides and walks with her father, just how smart he was.

“Dad was the smartest person in the world,” Rothman said. “You know, knowledge is pretty cool.”

Max is a journalist and taught Rothman that the smallest facts and details can reveal the greatest truths about people.

If Rothman hadn’t studied athletic training in college she might have been a writer so when she came across the Facebook page Humans of New York she was inspired to do something similar for Merrimack.

Everybody has their own life lessons and others should hear the stories, Rothman said. Too often, people stick to their own social groups so they don’t enjoy the wide array of fascinating stories others can share.

“I wanted to bring people together more,” Rothman said. “I like to learn more about other people and hearing their stories.”

The stories she writes for Merrimack Humans has drawn attention from fellow Warriors but also students from other colleges and universities. Feedback includes people with similar experiences to her subjects, and sometimes, inspirational videos.

Rothman almost didn’t make it to campus four years ago.

Then-women’s basketball coach Helen Williams recruited Rothman but Monique LeBlanc took over the program before Rothman arrived on campus and the young basketballer had to do some soul searching before deciding to attend Merrimack.

Ultimately, she decided Merrimack felt like a home.

“I like the campus, I like the way it felt during my first recruiting visit,’” Rothman said.

She arrived on campus and starred as a point guard and popular schoolmate for four years.


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