Merrimack Medal Winner Worked to Enhance the Merrimack Experience for All

Maxwell Beland ’24, who will graduate from Merrimack's School of Arts and Sciences on Friday, May 17, was awarded the Merrimack Medal for exemplifying outstanding character and achievement of service to his classmates and the College community.
Photo of Maxwell Beland '24 standing outside McQuade Library in his graduation regalia.
A double-major in political science and international studies, Maxwell Beland '24 hopes to one day serve as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department. 

As he prepares to move from Merrimack College student to alumnus, 2024 Merrimack Medal winner Maxwell Beland ‘24 said he’s proud of the legacy he’ll leave behind on campus.

“I left it all out on the field,” he said. “If I had to go back I wouldn’t want to change anything. It’s sad to go but I feel like I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do.”

Each year, the Merrimack Medal recognizes a graduating senior who exemplifies outstanding character and achievement. It is the College’s highest non-academic award.

“(The award) is something that a lot of people who I respect and look up to while I was here received,” explained Beland. “There’s a part of me that’s really humbled that I’m included in that group of people. It feels good to get that recognition.”

Beland was recognized in part for his tireless commitment to Merrimack’s Student Government Association (SGA). After spending his first two years as a student senator, Beland was elected secretary his junior year and president his senior year. While serving on SGA, Beland worked to make campus more environmentally sustainable. Looking to the future, Beland said the SGA plans on implementing more sustainable silverware options across campus, as well as extra water fountains and motion-sensing light switches to preserve electricity in classrooms. 

“I know there’s a lot of plans for new residence halls and academic spaces,” Belend said. “(Merrimack could start) thinking possibly about some LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications.”

Beland said he’s been interested in politics ever since he served on the student government at Central Catholic High School. At Merrimack, he double-majored in political science and international studies.

“(Prior to Merrimack,) I had this perception of government that was extremely optimistic,” he said. “(My collegiate studies) showed me the much more realistic side of what leadership looks like. At first, it was a little bit jarring but looking back on it now, having that experience was incredibly beneficial. What I’m passionate about hasn’t changed but the expectations for the job definitely have.”

In the fall, Beland will pursue a master’s degree at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law. One day, he hopes to serve as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department. 

“There’s going to be a lot of people I’m going to miss” at Merrimack, he said. “The thing that’s really going to be hard for me next year is transitioning to not seeing people every day. There’s also a lot of optimism for what’s coming next.”

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