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Letter to the Community

Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D. Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students 

September 1, 2021

Dear Boilermaker,

Happy September! I hope your second week of classes is off to a great start! We remain excited that you’re here and love having the campus bustling again with students!

The purpose of this letter is to remind you that we are here to help. As the first in my family to go to college (a first-generation student) I learned an important lesson my freshman year in college that has served me well over the years - asking for help! As a freshman many years ago, I experienced homesickness, difficulty adjusting to the academic demands of college, and feeling lost and lonely in my new environment. I knew I needed help understanding and navigating my new surroundings, so I asked for assistance. Asking for help is an important life skill to hone. Whether asking for directions to a building or classroom, needing help to understand complex equations or theories, or learning how to get involved in a registered student organization, seeking assistance is important. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, so be sure to utilize the countless resources and services Purdue has available to help you.

You are not alone on this journey. As the ancient proverb reminds us, “We drink from wells we did not dig; we are warmed by fires we did not kindle." Every single one of us has received help along the way in one form or another: from our parents, a coach, a teacher, a neighbor, a sibling, a grandparent, a religious/spiritual leader, a friend, and countless others. Continue to accept the support and encouragement, the mentoring and coaching that others are so willing to share and give. Know that while your previous support systems remain available to you, a groundswell of new resources, help and assistance are here for you at Purdue. Whatever you need assistance with, it is likely we can help.

An important resource is the Discussion and Dialogue series as part of the Steps to Leaps initiative. Check out this site out to learn from students and staff about resources that foster positive lifelong habits and promote a growth mindset in areas of well-being, leadership, impact, network building and grit.

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue and each of you!


Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost & Dean of Students
Purdue University
Schleman Hall| Room 207
475 Stadium Mall Drive | West Lafayette, IN  47907
Phone:  765.494.1257| Email:

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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