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Holy Cross valedictorian found gratitude, fraternity during undergraduate experience

| Friday, May 21, 2021

When he first started looking at colleges, Holy Cross senior Dylan Maugel was not sure if he wanted to study theology or chemical engineering — two vastly different subjects.

Eventually, he decided to pursue his interest in theology and ended up at the College because it is one of few schools to offer a theology program in Indiana.

“I ended up studying theology for the discernment for entering the seminary possibly,” Maugel said.

Now on the cusp of graduating, Maugel will be celebrated as the Holy Cross class of 2021 valedictorian and give a speech at the commencement ceremony Saturday.

Courtesy of Dylan Maugel
A native of Wakarusa, Ind. and theology and business double-major, Holy Cross senior Dylan Maugel is the class of 2021 valedictorian of Holy Cross College.

Maugel grew up in the small town of Wakarusa, Indiana, roughly 24 miles from Notre Dame, Indiana. He is graduating with majors in theology and business, and a minor in philosophy.

Writing a theology senior thesis on the baptismal call of the laity served as the culmination of Maugel’s undergraduate theology studies. The project studied how God makes the world holy through humans, Maugel said.

Maugel credited his advisor, associate professor of theology Louis Albarran, for being a crucial figure in developing his understanding of theology.

“He kind of helped point me to see how each ordinary individual does God’s work in the world by doing what they love and doing what they’re called to do, even if it is just an ordinary thing, like being an accountant or being an engineer,” Maugel said.

Maugel added his business major during his sophomore year, he said, after spending a summer working with local Church leaders through a summer service learning program. In his role, Maugel worked with parishes to buy run-down apartments and convert them into affordable apartments instead of letting the city demolish the buildings to build higher-income housing.

“I found a need for business-minded people in the Catholic Church,” Maugel said.

Maugel described his well-rounded four-year academic experience as “centered in the common good.

“We don’t just see transactions as money exchanging between people, but rather as an encounter between people that helps fulfill the needs of both the buyer and the seller,” Maugel said. “And just in general our theology program helps us see the world as a gift, and embody this through a greater understanding of Scripture in the liturgy.”

At Holy Cross, Maugel has spent the past academic year serving as a resident assistant in Basil Hall. Despite the restrictive protocols the pandemic brought to campus, Maugel said he came to appreciate how Holy Cross is like “a really big family.”

“It’s a close-knit community where we strive to really grow in fraternity with one another as we share meals — even under a tent for a dining hall,” Maugel said.

Maugel also spoke of how he enjoys the nicknames he and his peers share with one another. Maugel explained that he became “Spicy Dyl” after he brought spicy dill pickles his freshman year. 

“It’s just one of those unique things of calling each person by their name and looking into their eyes, and this being intentional and present with each other,” Maugel said.

Additionally, Maugel has been involved on campus through his roles as co-chair for the student government social concerns committee, a peer mentor, a member of both the Notre Dame and Holy Cross liturgical choirs and member of the Knights of Columbus club.

Next year, Maugel will attend the Augustine Institute in Greenwood Village, Colo., to work toward a Master of Arts in theology. After the two-year program, Maugel hopes to serve in the Church by being a leader of service learning, director of stewardship or director of evangelization and discipleship.

In his commencement speech, Maugel said he will speak on living a life of gratitude. He said the College has guided its students to live as both saints and as Holy Cross Saints throughout the rest of their lives.

“We might make a local impact, but the ripple effect will affect the global world and call everyone to embody sainthood in some sort of way,” Maugel said.

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About Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a junior pursuing a major in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. While she calls Breen-Phillips her home on campus, she is originally from Indianapolis. She currently serves as the Notre Dame News Editor.

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