When Grant Meglis ’14 of Acton, Mass., began growing his distinctive red beard, he had no idea that it would become an iconic feature of his identity — or benefit a good cause. As a captain of the crew team, co-chair of the Intersociety Council and a member of Hamilton Alumni Leadership Training (HALT), Meglis is accustomed to influencing his peers on campus. This semester, however, he decided to “take it on the chin” in the Shave for a Cause fundraiser. Meglis raffled the fate of his facial hair in exchange for donations to the Montgomery Experience, a local organization that supports those affected by severe medical conditions. The winning idea: Braiding the beard before it was entirely shaved. The result: $243 and some good laughs.
“[Growing the beard] started out as laziness … and then it turned into determination.
Every time I would see someone, or someone new, they would comment on it, and often it was sharing their undesired opinions as in, ‘Hey, Grant, you look like a lumberjack, why don’t you shave?’ (quoting my mother). So it turned into an expression of self-dedication … it’s my determination to push through other’s perceptions of me.”
“The sophomores [in my fraternity] had never known me without a beard. They wanted me to shave it, but they needed a good reason. One of them said, ‘You should have some sort of raffle, and the winner has to shave it,’ and I said ‘Why don’t we just let them do whatever they want with it?’”
“Everyone finds it difficult to encourage uniqueness in themselves and others. I know we are dealing with this as a campus, as people on this earth, but I think we need to notice difference and then accept it and encourage it because that’s really how we advance.”
“Ever since I came to Hamilton, I’ve had a more positive outlook. I see good in people; I see potential rather than just adding up all [their] flaws. I don’t know what to attribute it to on this campus … It has to be a perpetual cycle of older helping younger, but I definitely think my experience at Hamilton will shape the rest of my life and how I treat others.”
“The Hamilton community is amazing, and there are so many opportunities to do something like this … I think Hamilton has really created a setting in which an idea like this can flourish.”
“I want to leave my mark as that guy who did the weird, crazy beard fundraiser so people will think, ‘If he could do that, then why can’t I do this?’”