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Student Life Recognitions

Jay Gephart
Jay Gephart, Director of Purdue bands and Orchestras

Student Life would like to recognize areas within the division that have made an impact both to students and the greater campus community. In this issue we recognize the Roger C. Stewart Leadership experience at Purdue (LEAP), the Leadership and Professional Development Initiative, The Unity Committee, Brandon Cutler, associate dean of students for fraternity, sorority and cooperative life and Jay Gephart, director of Purdue University Bands & Orchestras.

Gallup Nominates Purdue for the Strengths Award

In recognition for its strength-based approach to impacting student engagement and thriving during and beyond their time in school, The Gallup Education team has nominated Purdue University for the 2020 Donald O’ Clifton – Strengths for Students Award. Purdue is one of a small number of finalists among the more than 1,000 schools which partner with Gallup on their strengths-based strategy.

Purdue partnered with Gallup to introduce CliftonStrenths for Students®, an online talent assessment, to incoming Boilermakers. Known as myStrengths, this program helps students identify their biggest strengths from a list of 34 talents. The assessment is administered through the Roger C. Stewart Leadership Experience at Purdue (LEAP) and the Leadership and Professional Development Initiative (LPDI). Students are introduced strengths concepts in their pre-arrival information and during orientation programs. LEAP and LPDI provide ongoing training for students through workshops held throughout the school year.

Since its inception in 2016, more than 33,000 Boilermakers have taken the assessment. During the Fall 2020 semester, more than 2,300 students participated in strengths-based workshops – all of which take place beyond the scope of in-class curriculums.

student-life-unity-committee.jpgUnity Committee Recognized for Contributions to United Way Campaign

The Student Life Unity Committee has been recognized for its contributions to the Purdue United Way campaign. 

The History of Horror Tour, a walking tour of campus highlighting true events from Purdue’s rich historical past and sponsored by the committee, was honored for being the highest grossing event. The tour raised more than $2,400 of the $28,522.44 Student Life contributed in support of the campaign. Overall, the Purdue community raised more than $700,000 for United Way of Greater Lafayette.

Contributions from Purdue University enable United Way of Greater Lafayette’s work to affect positive change in the Greater Lafayette community through investment in health, education and financial stability initiatives. United Way is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide. The organization focuses on creating community-based and community-led solutions that strengthen education, health and financial stability. 

The Student Life Unity Committee consists of Cassia Dean, Katherine Dietz, Amanda Adams, Emily Pearson, Jason Stensberg, Caitlin Benner, Mark Royer, Kelly Kiser, Wanda Woodhams, Zenephia Evans, Amanda Smith and Rachael Rayford.

Cutler Elected to Board of National Fraternity/Sorority Organization

Brandon Cutler, associate dean of students for fraternity, sorority and cooperative life, has been elected to the board of directors of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA). Cutler will serve a two-year term with AFA concluding in December 2021.

“I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to serve the association and its members through a time of transformation within the fraternal industry,” said Cutler. “I hope the board of directors role will provide ample professional development opportunities and allow me to learn from the membership.”

Cutler will help foster AFA’s mission to enhance its members’ abilities to foster impactful fraternity/sorority experiences. He has provided leadership for all areas within the Purdue fraternity, sorority and cooperative community since April 2013.

Gephart Awarded Prestigious Honor

Jay Gephart, director of Purdue University Bands & Orchestras, was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, one of the state of Indiana’s highest honors. Purdue President Mitch Daniels presented the award on behalf of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb at the Fall 2019 Purdue Bands & Orchestras awards banquet.

Gephart is the Al G. Wright Chair of Purdue Bands & Orchestras. Gephart has elevated the national and international prestige of Purdue Bands & Orchestras as director, with performances in venues such as Carnegie Hall and in events including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The
“All-American” Marching Band has also continued the tradition of playing to a worldwide audience before the start of the Indianapolis 500 each May.

The Sagamore of the Wabash was created during the term of Gov. Ralph Gates, who served from 1945-49. The term “sagamore’ was used by the tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. The award is the highest honor which the governor of Indiana bestows. It is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or governor.