Students' involvement in the oldest organization on campus: Old Masters
Old Masters is three-day program in the Fall that brings back ten distinguished alumni to campus. During the three-day program the Old Masters are each hosted by a group of students and interact with hundreds of students across campus. Once chosen as a Host, weekly meetings for six weeks help prepare for the program, learn about your Old Master, and learn the inner workings of the program. Each selected Old Master has a group of Hosts serve as their personal liaisons for the week, accompanying them to classroom talks, lunch engagements, and evening banquets. For Jordan Michel (Junior; Sales & Marketing; North Manchester) this year was not the first experience with the program. Last year she was a Host, and this year she participated as a Promotional Officer to help advertise the program's events.
Savannah Bordner (pictured above, Freshmen; Agribusiness Management; Cutler, IN) was a Host this year. Her Old Master was originally Andre Hughes, who co-founded the company Accenture, but he unfortunately was unable to come last minute. As a result, she joined a different group and was able to host Leslie Holland-Bartles, the former Alaska Regional Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. This class of Old Masters was inspiring and brought so many perspectives to the table.
Jordan (pictured above) participated initially and for an additional year because she wanted an opportunity to meet peers from across the university that shared a desire for self-development, professional betterment, and connecting with distinguished alumni. Savannah was looking to start her college career off with some experiences outside the College of Ag offerings saying, "I knew I wanted to be involved in Old Masters to be part of such an incredible tradition at Purdue and make lasting friendships across campus."
The takeaways from the program are immense and wide-ranging. Bordner took away from all the Old Masters "how far your experiences at Purdue can take you with the right attitude. Each of them is successful in their respective fields, and their Purdue degree set them apart from others and allowed them to rise to the top." Her experiences were greatly enjoyed, to the point that she desired to become (successfully) a Promotional Officer for next year.
One of the events is a campus-wide panel "Evening with the Old Masters". During that event all the Old Masters field questions from the audience about their college and professional experiences. This is where Michel says "Each OM brings their own story, which is one of the best parts of the program. I have a journal full of quotes from the program that I often reflect on for inspiration. However, I think two of the biggest themes that every OM highlights are to never let anyone or anything, not even yourself, stand in the way of your dreams, and that you learn as much outside of the classroom as you do inside the classroom during college. It is up to you to make the most of your four years. All of the events we have the opportunity to participate in are great but my favorite and the most memorable is Dining with the Dignitaries. Not only do we get to interact with all the OM's and hear their individual stories, but we are also able to meet impressive student leaders and faculty from across the university."
Bordner concluded, "I loved being a part of this experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get involved on campus! Old Masters is a great way to show your love for Purdue and gain so many valuable experiences along the way. If you enjoy building relationships with people, learning people's stories, and Purdue, then Old Masters would be a great tradition for you to take part in! My favorite part was meeting students from all over campus and creating those memories and friendships. The friendships I made I will carry throughout the rest of college. I will value those memories and connections I made through Old Master the rest of my life. Old Masters also served as a period of personal and professional growth in college. The lessons I learned will always be valuable."
"My OM was Scott Niswonger, a member of the 2018 OM class. One of the biggest takeaways for me is that the OM's, that are now the most outstanding leaders in their respective fields, were once just like us. They have since gone on to run companies, or even start their own, but none forget their days at Purdue. Entering any professional situation now is a lot less daunting because I know that no matter one's title, they are all looking for the best within students and probably cheering us on as we take leaps to pursue our dreams," Michel ended.
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