Lives of Meaning and Purpose
Twins Max and Nick Widmer ’12 ‘Brought Joy’ to Endeavors
EDITOR’S NOTE: The College ends its tribute to the graduating Class of 2012 today by highlighting twin brothers whose creative spirit and service on campus and in the Providence community reflect the Strategic Plan value of “Preparing Our Students for Lives of Meaning and Purpose.”
After sharing a bedroom at home for 17 years, identical twins Max and Nick Widmer ’12 (Huntington, N.Y.), the oldest of six, didn’t plan to attend the same college. But after a tour, they “had a certain feeling” Providence College was the place for each of them.
Four years later, the decision has proven the right one.
“It’s been phenomenal,” said Nick. “If I could have done it differently and gone anywhere else I wouldn’t.”
PC “couldn’t have been a better place for both of us,” agreed Max.
The Widmer twins distinguished themselves as “go-to guys” from the start, said Richard F. Kless, director of off-campus living and advisor to the student newspaper, The Cowl. They became resident assistants, Friars Club members, volunteered with Big Brothers of Rhode Island, wrote for The Cowl, and created a documentary film.
They also ran a half marathon and competed in intramural football, ice hockey, and softball.
“Once I got to know them, I can only say that one is nicer than the other, but it would be impossible to say which,” said Kless. “While I worked more closely with Max, I also got to know Nick, mostly due to the esteem Max holds for Nick. Yet in getting to know Nick, he showed that same esteem for Max. They brought a lot of joy to people during their four years here.”
In their freshman year, the Widmers were assigned rooms across from one another on the third floor of Guzman Hall, and their roommates all became friends.
For sophomore year, the twins applied and were accepted as resident assistants, responsible for overseeing other students in residence halls. Max was assigned to the third floor at Guzman and Nick to the lower level of St. Joseph Hall, both responsible for freshmen.
“We found 40 to 45 little brothers. It added a lot of really great experiences,” said Max.
“We tried to be a resource, not disciplinarians. We tried to make someone else’s transition to college easier,” said Nick. “You want them to be disappointed when they get in trouble, not mad at you.”
The next year, as juniors, both were RAs in DiTraglia Hall. They joked that it was really “Widmer Hall,” since Nick was responsible for the first three floors and Max for the upper three. They supervised both juniors and seniors.
In their sophomore year, Max and Nick were proud to be accepted, from among dozens of applicants, into the Friars Club, one of the oldest organizations on campus. Max calls the club “our family here.”
Friars Club members, wearing white blazers, give campus tours to prospective students and their families, volunteer at campus events, and work in the community.
For their senior year, the Widmers and nine friends rented a house off campus and decided to become Big Brothers.
“We had some extra time, not being RAs,” said Nick.
“When the RA thing stopped, we had some free time on our hands, and we looked for a way to do something good for the community,” explained Max.
They are big brothers to two boys, ages 12 and 14, who lost their father last year. Once every week or so, they hang out and play basketball.
“You’re really just a friend, someone they can turn to,” said Max.
“We’ve gotten a good amount of other PC kids to do it, too,” said Nick.
Focus on writing and film
Max, an American studies major with a writing minor, and Nick, an American studies major with a film minor, had a chance to display their creative talents this year, focusing on what matters most to them both — people.
Max, who joined the staff of The Cowl, was voted “Writer of the Year” by the staff. Among his stories were an interview with a Rhode Island College student who worked 30 hours a week in the Alumni Hall Food Court at PC and a profile on a physically handicapped PC student. Max also worked for a semester at the student-radio station, WDOM.
Nick completed a 50-minute documentary, The Parts of Himself, about a friend from home who was killed last September in a motorcycle accident while attending Arizona State University. A six-month effort, it was a “Widmer Brothers Production,” with Max sharing the writing credit, and already has more than 5,000 views online.
After graduation, the Widmers would like to work on a creative project together. Nick is interested in film or television and Max in writing for a newspaper, magazine, or in public relations.
But before that, they have tickets to Paris. They depart June 5 for two months of backpacking in Europe.
“We’re not freaking out about graduating,” said Nick. “Our father says ‘The cruise ship is coming to port.’ I say it’s going right back to Europe.”
“When you go for things you care about, things start happening,” said Max. “You kind of have to test yourself. … It’s great how things worked out really well for us from the start.”
— Vicki-Ann Downing