On May 22, the Edward H. Finnegan, S.J., Award was presented at the 141st University Commencement ceremony. Though many members of the Class of 2017 exemplified success and determination, the Finnegan Award is given annually to the graduating senior who best demonstrates Boston College’s motto of “Ever to Excel.” Of the highly competitive finalists, including Brittney Bentivegna, Morgan Healy, and Maura Lester McSweeney, University President William P. Leahy, S.J. awarded Lauren Wedell, CSOM ‘17, with this esteemed recognition.
A member of the Carroll School of Management Honors Program, Wedell embodies the academic merit of this motto. During her time at BC, she was a part of the Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu, and the business honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance and business analytics.
Wedell pursued activities off campus as well, interning at various financial firms during her time at BC in order to gain both work experience and a better sense of her post-graduation path. She describes this process of self-determination as one that required careful reflection and continual adaptation.
“To me, ‘Ever to Excel’ was more than a motto; it provided purpose, created inspiration and offered challenge,” Wedell explained. “I don’t believe it was my achievements alone that exemplified this sentiment. I believe it was my resilience that best captured this precept. When embraced, this principle becomes part of who you are. Grit. Hard work. Reflection. It was my setbacks and disappointments that propelled me into new directions.”
Aside from her own persistence and hard work, Wedell attributes her achievement to her surrounding relationships, both on and off campus.
“A big part of my success can’t be credited to me, but rather to the sacrifices of my parents, the kind words of my sister, and the continual support of my roommates and friends. I was fortunate to develop several mentors throughout my four years at BC and cultivate a close group of people whom I trust for advice and inspiration,” said Wedell.
A native Minnesotan, it is no surprise that Wedell’s competitive drive and charitable nature manifested on the ice. She graduated as the women’s club ice hockey team president and captain, has skated with participants in the Newton Special Athletes program, and took part in Skate with the Eagles. Wedell also participated in charity events with the East Coast Jumbos team of athletes with developmental disabilities and the sled hockey team from the Massachusetts Hospital School, to name a few.
As she looked back on her college career, Wedell reminisced on her first days on campus that motivated her to come to BC. “I first fell in love with BC when I visited the campus in 2008, when my older sister was visiting. The band was playing Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida,’ and students were throwing frisbees on the quad,” Wedell said. “At the time, BC struck me as the idyllic college experience. Many years later, a bit of that idealism still remains.”
When asked to give her own piece of advice for BC’s incoming freshmen, Wedell draws a few particular, insightful experiences that she believes shaped her social and academic growth.
“An important part of my path was learning when to say no,” she says. “When I arrived on campus, I wanted to join groups, make a difference, be involved. All great things—however, I lacked focus. By my sophomore year, I scaled back to concentrate on fewer organized activities by choosing ones that I was passionate about.”
Wedell also acknowledged the forces of persistence and timing in the social realm. She made tight-knit friendships with her 24 teammates on the club hockey team, and she explained how three of her closest friendships didn’t start until the end of her freshman year and the following summer. Wedell described how a stranger in her study abroad program would later become her roommate in the Mods. “I found that continuing on when things were difficult or uncertain led to fulfilling friendships and exciting opportunities,” she said.
Although leaving Boston College behind came with many tears, Wedell intends to maintain her resilience, continue to value reflection, and stay engaged with service opportunities and the BC community. She looks forward to keeping in touch with her classmates and receiving constant inspiration from her peers.
Wedell hopes to leave incoming freshmen with some words of wisdom, in an effort to encourage a college career that exemplifies BC’s motto of hard work and determination:
“Take advantage of study abroad programs. Experiencing life in a new country allows you to understand what you have always taken for granted and recognize the benefits of a different perspective. Invite a professor or an upperclassman to lunch. Ask for help when you need it, and give help when others need it. Put your ideas to work. Volunteer or intern for a cause or company you believe in. Stay grateful, listen more than you speak, and never underestimate the impact of a handwritten thank-you note.”