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Saluting a student leader

Friday, October 23, 2020

Andrew Gunderson and David Hummels

Captain Andrew Gunder was midway through the two-year full-time MBA program at the Krannert School when he was given an assignment … not by a faculty member, but by Uncle Sam. Gunder, a company commander in the 1-128th Infantry Battalion of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, would be deployed to Afghanistan. Duty called, and his studies and graduation would have to wait.

After a year’s deployment, Capt. Gunder is back in West Lafayette, finishing his degree. As a token of his appreciation for the school’s continued support of military service, Capt. Gunder presented Krannert Dean David Hummels with an American flag that flew proudly at Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he was stationed.

“In expressing my undying gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of Boiler Nation, I wanted to make sure that the very institution that took me in and is helping me become a better leader, a better student and a better member of society was recognized accordingly,” Gunder said following the event.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to show my thanks to the Purdue student body, Boilermakers everywhere, alumni and faculty for their support of the United States military and the veteran communities.”

The unit’s mission was a success…importantly, all the soldiers of the 1-128th returned home safely. Gunder admits that he wouldn’t have started the MBA program in 2018 had he known his unit would be deployed after his first year. But, as the Lake Forest, Illinois, native and Coe College alumnus observes, “You wouldn’t be a good leader if you didn’t learn to adapt to change.”

Gunder will separate from the military this November after serving more than 10 years. After graduation next May, he is hoping to land a position in either aerospace, management consulting, or the information technology industry. He says he grew professionally from his experiences abroad and at Purdue and hopes that he has left his mark on the school.

“I felt I could bring a unique set of leadership skills and experiences that would benefit my peers,” he says. “I hope I’ve made a difference here. I know the school has made a big difference for my family and me.”