Spirit Maker

5 Students Who are Spirit Makers

5 Students Who
Jim Mlynarski

Jim Mlynarski

  • Elizabeth Hudson
  • Jim Mlynarski
  • Juan Crespo
  • Elizabeth Gerrity
  • Paul Branham

Name: Jim Mlynarski
Major: Aviation management
Year: Second year master’s degree
Hometown: Palos Heights, Illinois

His face might be hidden behind the famous Purdue Pete mask, but his spirit isn’t. Jim Mlynarski basks in anonymity and brings smiles to thousands of people with his famous dance moves. Now in his third year as Purdue Pete, Jim creates Boilermaker spirit everywhere he goes — whether it is at athletic games, charity events or even Hollywood.

Master mascot

“I have been Pete since my sophomore year at Purdue. I graduated in May 2010 with an undergraduate degree. But I decided to go on for my master’s, and one of the main reasons I decided to do that was so I can still be Purdue Pete.”

Free therapy

“When I am Pete, I feel out of this world. Sometimes I would be stressed about things, but when I put on that head, it’s all gone. It’s like I don’t have anything to worry about when I am that guy.”

Smile Maker

“I really do think I am one of the best blessed people on this campus; and I thank God every day for it. I get to make people and kids happy. After we lose a game, everybody holds their heads down. But they see me and then they smile. Every time. There’s nothing better than that.”

Lucky star

“I got a call to go to Hollywood and cheer on the Purdue Latin and Ballroom Dance Team who were performing on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ I met all these famous people. It was amazing. I was also on HBO since they were doing a special on mascots. And I was able to do all this because I was fortunate enough to be Pete.”


“Purdue Pete is listed on my résume. When I go in for interviews, it is one of the first things the employers want to talk about. I’ve had interviews where it’s a 30-minute interview and 25 minutes of the interview was spent talking about Purdue Pete.”

By Kinnari Sejpal
Published March 2012