Photo by Mike Lovett

Grady Ward '16


Brandeis Inside Out: Grady Ward

Get the inside skinny on what it means to be Brandeisian from students themselves

Grady Ward ’16 is a triple major in computer science, mathematics and economics. Originally from Essex Junction, Vt., Ward is a member of the Brandeis University cross-country and track teams and a representative on the student union.

What attracted you to Brandeis?

The atmosphere, the academics and the people. On Admitted Students Day, I had the chance to talk to so many people that I had never met before, and had real, interesting, genuine conversations. I knew pretty soon afterward that the human energy here defined the kind of student body I wanted to be a part of, and the academic environment I was interested in. Brandeis’ size makes it intimate and friendly; I was looking for a school where friends are easily made, academic opportunities are everywhere, and the campus atmosphere is energetic. That initial impression has held true remarkably well. If you are open to the campus, it opens itself to you.

What do you nerd out about?

So many things. Politics, technology, philosophy, Legos.

What makes Brandeis special?

Every student here is passionate about what they study and what they do. They care about the world in their free time. I have never been to another place where people feel so responsible for shaping the future for the better. That passion gets us into debates, into research, into extracurricular plays and music and sports. Our passion defines our time here, and it shapes our lives, and the lives of the people around us. I am a better person for being influenced by the passion and energy of my friends. I don't think that you can find that kind of unapologetic dedication and energy in many places, and I love that our campus is humming with it.

What has been your most Brandeisian moment on campus?

During finals last year, I was in the library most of the day (as were most of my classmates). We were cooped up all day studying for finals and working on final papers and projects, and outside it was one of the first genuinely nice days of spring (the snow had melted, you could smell the grass for the first time in several months). On our way to dinner, my best friend and I jumped into a game of ultimate Frisbee on Chapels Field with people we had never met, and played until dark. There is nothing more Brandeisian than taking your work and your leisure very seriously.

How have you changed since you came here?

I have become so much happier with the person I am. In high school, I often worried about how I was dressed, or how other people perceived me. I also had recently come out, and was comfortable in my skin, but not with how people thought about me. Being at Brandeis has helped me be myself, because there are no expectations of how you should dress, who you should like, what you should think, or how you should be. This is a very diverse and relaxed community, and I love that. Nobody judges me for wearing primarily hand-me-downs, lip-synching to my iPod, or having any of the opinions that I do.

Grady Ward ’16 is the Lerman-Neubauer Fellow