‘The thing that has really marked my Merrimack experience is the relationships’

Merrimack Medal recipient Theresa Macdonald '22 reflects on her time at the College and how her experiences reinforced her values and goals.
Merrimack medal recipient with vice president of student affairs/dean of students.
Theresa Macdonald ’22, left, the Merrimack Medal recipient with Allison Gill, vice president of student affairs/dean of students.

When Theresa Macdonald chose to attend Merrimack College, she said it was her mission to make the most of her time, build relationships and get involved.

Four years later, she certainly followed through on that mission. While at Merrimack, Macdonald served as an Austin Scholar, a leader on SEND trips and other campus ministry retreats and initiatives, resident advisor, wellness peer educator, writing center tutor, first-year-experience mentor and teaching assistant, among other duties.

“I was just thinking how the different relationships I’ve built have been the most impactful part of my time at Merrimack,” said Macdonald ’22, who will receive a double degree in sociology and human development and human services, with minors in law, ethics, and society and religious and theological studies.

“The common thread through all the things I have done at Merrimack is working with people and supporting others in some way,” she added.

For her impact on the campus community, Macdonald was awarded the Merrimack Medal, the College’s most prestigious non-academic award. It is presented to the senior who exemplifies outstanding character and achievement of service.

“Theresa is an incredibly dedicated student leader,” said Allison Gill, vice president of student affairs/dean of students. “She has served our community and her peers in a tremendous way with her genuinely helpful advice, providing a listening ear and being a mentor to other students. Theresa has also dedicated herself to student service and has the record for the most SEND trips of any student at Merrimack College. She is certainly deserving of the prestigious Merrimack Medal.”

Macdonald fully admits her multitude of roles and responsibilities might seem daunting, but it was all worth it because it all brought her joy.

“I don’t think my freshman year self would be surprised with who I am today,” said Macdonald. “My values have been very much enriched and reinforced through different opportunities at Merrimack to do the things I love, expand my mind and heart and make connections.”

Those values of service, which are what attracted Macdonald to Merrimack in the first place, were instilled in her by her parents. She credits them with teaching her the importance of helping others.

“They are definitely the greatest influences for who I am and my values,” she said.

Macdonald will continue on her service journey after Commencement by joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps., which sends lay volunteers across the country to work with low income and marginalized communities. She eventually wants to get her master’s degree in social work.

And while she is excited about her next endeavor, Macdonald said there is one thing she wishes did while at Merrimack. “I wish I had done intramurals. Everyone always looks like they are having fun.”


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