In many ways, Brayden Lentz ’23 is just like every Wabash student. In many more ways, he is one of a kind. The Noblesville, Indiana native had a high school experience much like many other incoming Wallys.
“I didn’t do anything outside of baseball and school,” Lentz said. “It was very hard to get involved. You couldn’t know everybody and the doors in many ways were closed.”
Coming into Wabash, however, Lentz found that getting involved was easier than ever, and doors started to open. His classmates now know him as a double major in Classics and Latin, baseball player, brother of Beta Theta Pi, Student Senator, former Treasurer of the Student Body and campus clown. More important than his number of titles, however, is the zest with which he commits himself to all that he does.
On the baseball diamond, Lentz dedicates himself completely.
“It’s forced me to balance work and life except for work is school and life is baseball,” he said.
Despite the sacrifices and challenges inherent in being a student athlete for four years, he believes sincerely in the value of competing.
“It makes Wabash mean something that I compete with the letter on my chest,” said Lentz.
The son of two teachers, it is no surprise that Lentz has thrived in the pursuit of a thoroughly classical education. Asking the Latin and Classics double major any question about the study of antiquity will yield a thoughtful and enthusiastic response, delivered with a twinkle in his eye. His passion for the subject stems from its multidisciplinary nature, as well its modern philosophical applications.
“It forces us to think a little deeper about religion, God and our civic duty to the state,” Lentz said. “It forces me to look at the way I live my life in a new light every single day.”
His passion for learning about the ancient world took him to the motherland of his field. Taking advantage of the Rudolph Scholarship, Lentz spent last summer on an academic tour of Greece, hopping from historic site to historic site. As the youngest student in his cohort and only undergraduate, he acknowledged that it was more than a sight-seeing tour.
“It forced me to step up my game academically and professionally,” said Lentz.
However, his experiences brought him right to the site of legends.
“I gave on-site presentations at the site of the battle of Marathon, which was mind- blowing,” Lentz said. “As the storm rolls in over the Aegean, I was talking about the sacrifice of the Athenian Hoplites.”
Lentz’s most lasting legacy to the student body, however, will forever be his run for Student Body President in the spring of 2022. Nearly everyone just thought his campaign was an elaborate joke. Lentz agrees.
However, his grand joke was more nuanced than most realize.
“That was really a campaign of what we would call populism,” Lentz said. “What started as a joke, though it continued to be a joke, we did in many ways take it more seriously than people thought we did.”
Lentz intended the campaign to be a satire of the state of modern politics.
“Many times those elections were held on false promises,” he said. “We tried to make promises that were either doable or so completely insane that no one would believe them.”
Despite the ridiculous nature of some parts of his campaign platform, the effort as a whole exemplifies Lentz’s approach to Wabash, as well as life as a whole.
“Those who went to the debate I think would recognize that we really do care about this college and we do care about the message we leave behind,” Lentz said.
This ethos pervades everything Lentz does. His unorthodox but intentional approach to life has carried him through these four years, and it ensures that he will look back with no regrets.
“Don’t let it pass you by. Take advantage of every opportunity,” Lentz said. “In 20 years, I could say that I gave it all I had.”