by Hannah Langley ’21
In the musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda posed the question, “Legacy. What is a legacy?” For Sean Gray ’21, he hopes his legacy will not only be his family legacy here at Providence College, but also his legacy of helping and contributing to the PC community in many different ways.
Growing up in Lincoln, RI, Gray was surrounded by Friartown influence and spirit. He talked about how both of his parents, as well as his brother, graduated from PC, so he felt it was always a presence in his life. It was not until his sophomore year of high school, though, that Gray really started to consider PC an option for his future. “I was indifferent with the whole college process,” Gray said, “but when I was a sophomore in high school, I saw the hockey team win the national championship, and I was all in.”
Since his freshman year, Gray has been heavily involved in student life here at PC. “I joined Student Congress at the end of my freshman year,” he said, and he has been on the Academics Committee ever since. He talked about all the work the committee has done over the past few years, particularly the events he was involved in planning, including the “Core Crunch” for incoming freshmen and the book drive held last semester, in which they raised over 400 books. Gray has also been a class representative for the class of 2021 beginning this past year.
“I love being on Congress,” said Gray. “I enjoy being able to represent my classmates and make substantial differences in their lives, especially in academics, which is something I feel very passionate about.”
Besides being on Congress, Gray also works in the Writing Center as a head writing tutor, which is something he also cares deeply about here at PC. “I like to do work that is purposeful and makes a difference,” said Gray, which is why the Writing Center is one of his favorite things here. He loves having people come in and knowing that he is making a difference in their lives by helping them improve their own work. As Gray said, “We want to make better writers, not better papers, so seeing people grow in that skill is really satisfying.”
It was not only the culture and spirit that drew Gray to PC, but the academics as well. As a history major and a part of the Honors Program, Gray said he liked the idea of Development of Western Civilization (DWC) from the very beginning.
When asked why he chose to be a history major, Gray replied, “I think history is the most important thing anyone can study right now.” As a lover of learning, Gray believes history gives him an interesting study of the way human nature works over time and the patterns throughout human history. He continued, saying, “I think it teaches you skills that are important in personal and professional life, but we are also exposed to information constantly,” which is why learning how to evaluate events today is an important tool.
Gray is also pursuing a double minor in Spanish and philosophy, talking about how he thinks these two minors pair well with his major. “Philosophy and history are incredibly intertwined,” he said. “It gives you an idea of how different generations struggle with the same problem and how they acted from different angles.”
Part of Gray’s work in the history department includes being a research assistant. He talked about his recent work with Dr. Steven Smith in researching a politician and newspaper editor from the 1800s named Peter Force, which has given him the opportunity to learn more about life in the early American republic. Gray loves the work he does in the department because it gives him the chance to work alongside professors and build relationships with them while doing something he enjoys.
While Gray is only a junior, he hopes to one day pursue a Ph.D. in history or attend law school to study legal history. When asked what his dream job would be, Gray responded, “Oh, for sure being a history professor here,” exemplifying his love for the PC community.
Although Gray works hard in the classroom, he loves spending time with his friends, whether that be at hockey games, playing intramural flag football, or going to yoga classes. “I have made the best friends a guy could ask for,” said Gray. “I’m just thankful for the relationships I’ve built with my friends, professors, and co-workers, and I’m grateful for my parents who work hard for me to be here,” he said.
While Gray is just one of many students working to make a difference in the PC community, he hopes he is making a lasting impact in the lives of students while building his own legacy, which students will remember and take with them throughout their lives.