November 2017

Timmy Takedown Visits Purdue

Housing News

University Residences Supports Timmy Takedown

As part of Purdue University Residences’ Executive-in-Residence program, Timmy Global Health founder and Purdue alumnus Dr. Chuck Dietzen dressed as “Dr. Doom” to wrestle patients of Riley Children’s Hospital in a pretend wrestling match in front of an enthusiastic crowd of students and families.

Six children were victorious in their 10-minute bouts against Dr. Doom and his partner, “Cargo.” Each child competed under their own wrestling alias, including monikers such as “The Tasmanian Devil,” “Piranha,” and “The Destroyer.” The event was scripted and attended by University Residences, along with the Purdue chapter of Timmy Global. Members of each of Purdue’s residential neighborhoods supported a child, made posters for them and were in attendance to cheer them on and provide a supportive atmosphere. 

“It was amazing to see all the students come out and support the children,” said Randi Purvis, assistant to the executive director of University Residences “You could see all the kids’ faces light up when they saw each of the posters and heard their names being chanted in the crowd.”

Dietzen, who wrestled for five years as Dr. Doom, was inspired to start the Timmy Takedown program after meeting a young patient who knew of him from his wrestling days. Dietzen works to put the children through moves that highlight their individual strengths. Dr. Doom has never won a Timmy Takedown match. The signature Timmy Takedown event, held annually in Indianapolis, serves as a fundraiser for Timmy Global Health’s local and international charity work.

In addition to Timmy Takedown, students interacted with Dietzen at events that included an ice cream social, multiple neighborhood events, one-on-one opportunities, a dinner and keynote address. The Executive-in-Residence program exists to provide chances for students to make connections with successful Purdue alumni through formal and informal programming, all while executives serve “in-residence” at Purdue.

Dietzen, who owns a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences from Purdue, founded Timmy Global Health in 1997. The organization seeks to expand healthcare access in the developing world, while empowering students and medical professional volunteers to tackle today’s global health challenges. Purdue’s chapter of Timmy was founded in 2004 and was one of the first chapters to be established. 

Writer: Matt Vader

Jake Alcott VP RHA

Student Spotlight

Residence Hall Association VP Circles the Globe
En Route to Purdue

The question of where one is from is typically easily answered. That’s not the case for Purdue sophomore Jake Alcott, who has moved nine times in his life due to his father’s 21-year career in the U.S. Air Force.

The moves have taken Alcott around the globe, including stops in four countries and one U.S. territory. Alcott has spent time abroad in Guam, Belgium, South Korea and Germany, while spending time stateside in Las Vegas, San Antonio and two locations in the Washington D.C. area. Alcott notes that when he completes his undergraduate degree at Purdue, it will mark the longest period of time he has lived in a particular location. 

The perspectives he’s gained from these moves and experiences are something he says has helped him in his capacity as vice president of the Residence Hall Association.

“Moving around so much and seeing so many different perspectives and cultures has really opened my mind to a lot of the world around us,” said Alcott. “It’s really easy to get sucked into a bubble, where you’re only focused on your own perspective. It’s made me want to get involved in whatever community I’m a part of. One of the quickest ways to build a sense of belonging is by getting involved in the community and giving back the best I can.”

Alcott’s moves have resulted in experiences unique to the places in which he has lived, as well as experiences unique to military lifestyle. These range from learning Flemish as a child in Belgium, to living at what the Department of Defense calls “the largest American community outside the United States” when his father was stationed at Ramstein Air Base in southwest Germany.

Among Alcott’s experiences was a trip to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea for his 10th birthday. The trip occurred while his father was serving at Osan Air Base, located about 45 miles south of the DMZ. Alcott’s tour included close observation by the North Korean military police, who singled Alcott out of his group and followed him through binoculars in apparent fascination with his blonde hair, a rarity in that part of the world.

It was Alcott’s involvement with debate and student congress at his last stop in northern Virginia however that began to directly open his path that would later lead to his position in RHA.

“In my mind, debate and conversation are two sides of the same coin,” said Alcott. “A debate is just a conversation that’s really, really interesting. It pushed me more towards middle ground and realizing the truth is somewhere in the middle.”

It was this background that drew Alcott to RHA as a freshman after hearing about the organization from his resident assistant. He was elected as a representative of McCutcheon Hall. A couple months later, he earned a position as Issues and Facilities Director through an interview. Obtaining that position on the executive board is something Alcott said cemented his desire to pursue the vice president position, which he was elected to at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Alcott’s role as vice president primarily entails supervising the senate and directors. Rather than a top-down approach, Alcott seeks to empower individuals in those positions.

“I want to establish a legacy where Senators know what they can do,” explained Alcott. “Every year, the issues will change. As long as they know they can accomplish those goals and work towards tackling them, then something can actually be done. That is what I’m focused on.”

Alcott, a computer science major, plans to eventually parlay his passion for debate and experience in leadership into an advocacy role in his community.

“People will often ask me, because of my military background, do I plan on serving myself?” said Alcott. “I do still feel that sense of duty or obligation to serve my country and my community, but I want to do so in the way I can do it best. I found, for me, that’s oftentimes acting as a voice for people, representing different interests, noticing problems in my community and seeing if I can do anything about them.”

In the meantime, impacting the culture and leaving a legacy at Purdue drives Alcott’s pursuits. 

“If I could accomplish anything here at Purdue, it’s that I want to leave it a better place than I found it,” said Alcott. “The mentality of ‘one brick higher’ is definitely something I admire. I would like to do that here as well and that means being as involved in the community as I can.”

Writer: Matt Vader

Excaliber Club in Wiley Hall

Alumni Profile

Long-Time Residence Employee Continues Positive ImpactLanny Wilson

The legacy of building connections through Residential Life is evident when speaking with 1960 Purdue graduate Lanny Wilson.

Wilson’s involvement with residential life began when he was a student and established a relationship with Bill Berner, a residence hall manager. Wilson looked up to Berner and considered him a mentor.

“He took an interest in me,” said Wilson. “I admired his passion for the job and how involved he was with students.”

Wilson lived in residence halls for the duration of his time as a student, including two years in what is now Meredith Hall and two years in Wiley Hall. During that time, he became the head waiter while working in the dining rooms of each hall as he paid his way through school.

Upon graduating, Wilson initially planned to use his education degree to teach for five years before returning to work at Purdue. Those plans changed when he returned on a campus visit with his wife, and heard about a job opening as an assistant manager in Owen Hall. 

Obtaining that position jump-started a career of 39 years of work in housing at Purdue. His work included serving as the manager of Wiley Hall for a period of 12 years, as well as earlier stints in Owen, Harrison and Earhart Halls. Management work then involved every aspect of life in a residence hall, ranging from programming to meals.

One of his favorite recurring events to manage came during his time in Wiley, when the hall would host a meal for students and families following home football games.

“It was the perfect atmosphere for fellowship and to bring everyone together,” Wilson said.

Wilson later earned a position as director of administration of residence halls and graduate housing, a position that involved hand-processing housing applications at the time. Despite the mountains of paperwork, Wilson used the applications as an opportunity to begin learning about each student. He motivated his staff to do the same.

“I always took each application, and encouraged my staff to take each application, as an opportunity to become acquainted with the students,” recalled Wilson. “You can see what their interests are, where they’re from, what their parents do and help steer them into something that might interest them. It helps them become a part of the community.”

After retiring, Wilson continues to stay active with his alma mater, serving as a volunteer at the Purdue Welcome Center in Purdue Memorial Union. He also recently participated in a men’s retreat sponsored by University Residences, where he served as a mentor for 100 participants.

Wilson is also the driving force behind the Lanny C. Wilson Scholarship, awarded annually to at least one student in University Residences who has achieved distinction in leadership while employed in a student-worker position in a residence hall. Recognizing a student following a similar path to the one he took is something Wilson says is valuable.

“I talked to a student recently at a retreat who worked 35 hours a week,” said Wilson. “He was telling me that he often gets home at 12:30 in the morning. I think it’s important that these people get some sort of recognition.”

Wilson was honored for his continued service to the university as a recipient of the Purdue Alumni Association Special Boilermaker Award in 1999. The award honors a member of the Purdue faculty or staff who has contributed significantly to the improvement of the quality of life and/or the betterment of the educational experience for a substantial number of Purdue students.

Through his now 50-plus years of involvement with Purdue however, it’s the relationships that Wilson values the most.

“The best part was the relationships that were built with students through the years,” Wilson reflected. “That’s really what it’s all about. I’ve been fortunate enough to build those relationships, some of which continue to this day.”

Writer: Matt Vader

Drew Feustel
NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel.
Photo Credit: NASA.

Purdue Alum Headed to Space

Purdue alum and NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel, will be the commander of Expedition 56 during a six-month mission to the International Space Station. Feustel and his crewmates will launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan in March 2018. For photos and postings related to Drew’s training, launch, mission, landing and more, please follow Drew on Instagram and Twitter: @astro_feustel

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

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

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