November 2018


Caleb Hettinger

Above: Caleb Hettinger addresses participants in the Men's Leadership Series. 

Student Profile

Men's Leadership Series Affirms Leadership Ideals 

Entering last fall’s inaugural Men’s Leadership Series, Caleb Hettinger felt a call to leadership dating back to the values his parents instilled in him as a child. For Hettinger, a biology teacher education and educational studies major, an interaction with Dr. Chuck Dietzen, founder and president of Timmy Global Health, at one of the first events in the series provided an affirmation of his beliefs.

“It’s about doing something that’s going to make an impact on other people’s lives,” says Hettinger. “That’s why I’m in Res Life and that’s why I’m going for a career in education. He talked about a lot of feelings that I already felt, and he put the words to those feelings. It was so inspiring and reassuring to hear someone so successful have these same thoughts.”

The Men’s Leadership Series creates a foundation for future leadership opportunities through interactions with alumni who began building their base at Purdue and have transformed the world through action. The core teaching philosophies of the program revolve around servant leadership, resiliency and inclusivity. The series serves as not only a way to connect students with alumni, but with peers interested in leadership. 

The positive experience in the first Men’s Leadership Series inspired Hettinger to apply to become a committee member for this fall’s series. 

“Hearing him [Dietzen] talk about the potential impact we can make through servant leadership was so inspiring to me,” says Hettinger. “I just wanted to be able to provide the same experience for other students.”

Hettinger, now a fifth-year senior, obtained one of the two student positions open on the committee. In addition to providing feedback on his experience as a participant in the series, Hettinger assisted in contacting speakers for this year’s series, reserving venues, escorting speakers around campus and helping set up for events.  

Series events begin with a presentation by a guest speaker. Following the presentation, networking and discussion takes place in small groups, facilitated by Purdue faculty and staff members Participants have opportunities to meet and talk one-on-one with guest speakers afterwards. 

David Boudia

Above: David Boudia, Gold Medal Olympian, with participants in the Men's Leadership Series. 

This year’s featured speakers included: 

  • Steven Schultz, Chief Financial Officer, Purdue University
  • David Boudia, Gold Medal Olympian 
  • Steve Furry, CEO and Founder of Catalyst Healthcare Advisors
  • Dr. Carl Krieger, Director of Residential Life, Purdue University
  • Anthony Cawdron, Events Coordinator & Estate Manager, Westwood
  • Ralph Amos, President & CEO, Purdue Alumni Association

Networking opportunities with visiting speakers has been one of the highlights of the series for Hettinger. He has been able to contact several professionals at the recommendation of guest speakers, something he says has been helpful in developing his approach to teaching and education. 

Hettinger also cites Boudia’s presented approach in how to break down one’s goals into manageable pieces as having an impact on him. One of the biggest takeaways for Hettinger in this year’s series, however, came as a result of Furry’s presentation on leadership styles. Hettinger, now in his second year as a residence education assistant in Tarkington Hall and a former two-year resident assistant in Harrison Hall, has found application in Furry’s demonstrated leadership tactics. 

“He talked about being diplomatic or dictatorial in leadership,” says Hettinger. “I have a very diplomatic style, but I learned there’s a time and place for dictatorial. That’s something I can utilize if I’m ever in a crisis response or in a situation where something needs to get done.”

After graduating in May, Hettinger plans to put his ideals to use with a servant leadership organization such as the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps. His plans include serving with one of these organizations for a year or two before pursuing a teaching position. 


 Bethany Mruzik

Above: Bethany Mruzik (front row, fourth from right) and fellow attendees at the University Residences "Giant Leaps" brunch. 

Student Profile

Mruzik Reflects on Meredith Experience as Giant Leaps Loom for Meredith South

As University Residences showcases its “Giant Leaps” as part of Purdue’s sesquicentennial celebration, the department strives to build its future upon the foundation that has already been laid. Evidence for this can be seen in the plans for Meredith South, a new residence hall now under construction south of the existing Meredith Residence Hall along First Street.  

The new hall will be primarily dedicated to housing women’s STEM learning communities, including Women in Science, Women in Technology, Women in Engineering and Women in Agriculture. The structure will house 728 residents. The hall will also feature a “grab and go” Purdue Dining & Catering operation. Set to open in Fall 2020, the new community is expected to offer opportunities for the existing Meredith Hall community to build relationships with their new neighbors. 

Attendees of a University Residences brunch were presented with further details and a video showcasing some of the plans and ideas behind the new construction. One such attended was Bethany Mruzik, president of Meredith Hall’s RX Club, who represented Residence Life along with the presidents of other residence hall clubs. 

“The presentation was really nice because it was a bunch of people talking about how they really wanted to help the students in their residential life,” says Mruzik, a senior majoring in civil engineering with a focus in structures. “That’s always a nice feeling. There’s a lot of people who are into our success and it’s really great to reaffirm that.”

Mruzik, a native of St. Louis, Mo., has been an active member of Meredith Hall’s RX Club since her freshman year, when she answered a callout for the organization with a friend. In her second semester on campus, she obtained an executive board position has been heavily involved in the club as a Meredith residence ever since. During that time, she’s had the opportunity to fully experience the existing culture of the hall and how it provides an advantageous environment for residents. 

“Meredith is primarily known for having a really good community,” says Mruzik. “The community is amazing. Because we don’t have air conditioning, we have to open our doors the first few weeks to let air filter in and it’s an organic way to see people and talk to them.”  

The turnover of Meredith residents provides opportunities to meet new people every year and presents unique possibilities with regards to events to suit new crops of students. Whether it’s arts and crafts, an outing to Union Rack and Roll, writing letters to veterans, or the traditional and popular Pancake Night during finals week, the culture of the hall created by those who reside in it is adaptable to new situations. More evidence of this can be seen in the current RX Club plan to become more procedure-based to benefit future residents.

“We’re trying to enforce a lot of procedure this year,” says Mruzik. “Meredith has a lot more laid-back feeling. Lots of places have rooms for their Congress meetings, but we’re in a lounge where anyone can be. When you get out of desks and chairs, it’s easy to fall back into being social. What we’re really trying to enforce is creating steps in how to get certain things are done and making sure deadlines are met.” 

Though she will have graduated by the time Meredith South is completed, Mruzik says she sees opportunities for future residents of the two adjacent communities to interact and share experiences.  

Meredith South is one of two planned construction projects for University Residences. The second, known as Third Street North, will be located north of Black Cultural Center along Russell Street and will include 570 beds. Third Street North is still in the design phase. 

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic | Inquiries Contact:

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