Humans of JCU: Ray Flannery

“Everything I wanted to get out, I got out of this and this experience. I forced myself out of my comfort zone and challenged my beliefs.”


Ray Flannery

Spanish and Sociology major, Ray Flannery ’22, loves to engage with others and offer a helping hand.

Laken Kincaid, Campus Editor

As the Class of 2022 starts to say their goodbyes to John Carroll University, one senior who left his mark on campus prepares for the next stage of his life. Ray Flannery ‘22 spent all four years of his undergraduate career at John Carroll and describes himself as a lover of JCU. 

Oftentimes, you can find Flannery ordering his daily pick me up from Saxbys, discussing American Idol or his newfound fondness of Harry Potter with his friends. You may also spot him hammocking near the quad listening to his favorite music. He is a well-known shining face on campus that many know and adore.

Flannery grew up in Hinckley, Ohio, attending school in the same district since he was five years old and finishing his primary education at Highland High School in a rural area. He emphasized that he was surrounded by many of his same peers from elementary through high school and enjoyed his childhood in the small town. 

“My family is still there and I am fond of where I am from,” Flannery said. “That small town experience and moving here to a more suburban area rounded me out as an individual.”

While Flannery never attended a Catholic school growing up, he told The Carroll News that he was drawn to John Carroll because of its Jesuit pedagogy, specifically the service learning aspects. However, JCU was not “on his radar” for a college choice at first, although his father is a Carroll alum. 

“I didn’t feel drawn in because it had been done before and it was too close to home,” Flannery continued. “As I did my college search, I met with a representative and liked what he had to say. I knew on my tour that this was the school for me but didn’t want to admit it. At the celebration, I realized that this was the place for me. I grew up only 40 minutes away so it wasn’t that much of a culture shock.”

Flannery also said that Andrew Welki, a former professor of his father’s, inspired him to not only attend John Carroll but also join the Honors Program.

“I have never had Welki but I did meet him my senior year of high school,” Flannery said. “He talked up the honors program and that’s part of the reason I came here. I was excited by the opportunities to work alongside like minded individuals and people who would keep me sharp.”

Within the first few days of his freshman year, Flannery decided to change his major from biology to undecided, citing that he realized quickly during class scheduling that it was “not [his] path.” While he was taking core classes, he discovered his love for both sociology and Spanish which formed his current area of study. His interests in leadership development and social science helped him decide his minors as well. 

Throughout his collegiate career, Flannery became involved with the Center for Service and Social Action as both a liaison for service drives and a member of the student leadership team. He stated that CSSA “differentiated [his] high school experience from his college experience” and helped him realize his love for public health especially with his virtual drive as a hospital call worker. 

“My first in-person experience was working at a hydroponic garden,” he explained. “Honestly, I think being part of CSSA is one of my mainstays on campus. I have been involved with service ever since I came to John Carroll. I have adopted the philosophy of seeing change and adopting that change because of CSSA.”

Other than being an active volunteer in the JCU community, Flannery is a member of the John Carroll Speech and Debate team which he recently won an award for at the Pi Kappa Delta national tournament. He is also a member of the honors program and a Senior Resident Assistant in Millor Hall. In the summer, he is a camp counselor and has worked as a lifeguard in the past. He says that he set out to “reestablish” himself senior year to “make up” for everything he missed during the pandemic. 

“Ray is a fantastic student leader and a great representation of what it means to be an RA on JCU’s campus,” Rebecca Kates, the area coordinator for Millor Hall, told The Carroll News. “He dedicates himself to everything he does and I know that he’ll find success.”

Flannery has also successfully integrated himself into the community as a friend and colleague to those who he interacts with. He serves as an inspiration for underclassmen both in CSSA and ResLife.

“Ray is an exemplary individual,” Joel Larson ‘24, a resident assistant in Millor Hall alongside Flannery, stated. “He goes above and beyond, forms close relationships with others and values improvement. Just from knowing Ray, I have grown in many ways.”

This positive attitude has helped him propel his future plans. Flannery plans to carry over this love for serving others into his career and aims to attend graduate school to obtain a masters in public health. 

“From there, I want to continue my work serving others in a people oriented field and community focused field,” Flannery explained. “I want to use my sociology background and ability to speak Spanish to help improve the lives of others. I do not know what my future job is going to look like but my experiences at JCU reaffirm my values and have shaped me into wanting to go into this field. Wherever it is, I like to shape my own experience and shape the experience of others if I can.”

Now, as his chapter at John Carroll ends, Flannery reflects back on his time at Carroll happily, discussing the positive impacts he has received from attending the university. 

“I adopted much of the JCU mission into my personal mission and felt called to do so,” he started. “I remember my mom asked me my freshman year if I felt like I was fitting in and offered to let me transfer and I asked her if she was joking. I knew then that I was in the place I was meant to be. Everything I wanted to get out, I got out of this and this experience. I forced myself out of my comfort zone and challenged my beliefs.”