mark gee

Mark Gee was appointed as Purdue’s newest student trustee by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday. He will serve two years.

Purdue’s newest student trustee is excited to help bring change about the campus.

Mark Gee, a graduate student from Iowa, was appointed as the University’s student trustee by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday.

Gee said he’s trying to keep an open mind as he takes on his new role, but there are a lot of things that he’s excited about. For one, he wants to make sure that the University doesn’t stop making progress.

“We’re in a time of transition through COVID, through higher education, you know, a whole bunch of issues that are happening here,” Gee said in a Tuesday phone interview. “I want to make sure that we keep moving Purdue forward.”

Though the appointment was announced Monday, Gee has already taken steps to make sure students from all over campus have their voices heard.

“I really plan to make a broad effort to understand what’s going on at Purdue, to understand a diverse range of student perspectives on campus,” he said. “I have already had people from the cultural centers reach out to me, trying to set up meetings, trying to make sure all voices of Purdue are represented in board discussions.”

Gee began his Purdue journey in 2014. Through his undergraduate years, he pursued three majors: biological engineering, biochemistry and agronomy. He graduated in 2019 and planned to take a gap year to work before returning to campus for his master’s degree. He returned to Iowa and worked at PowerPollen, a startup company.

But the pandemic changed Gee’s plans.

“2020 threw a wrench in everybody’s plans,” he said.

Instead of returning to campus for the fall semester, Gee remained in Iowa and worked while completing the first year of his master’s program online. He plans to come back to campus in the fall, just in time to begin his term as a student trustee.

Gee applied to be a trustee in the fall semester after a callout for the position was sent to his email. Throughout the year, he went to callout meetings and submitted a written application. From December to early May, Gee was then interviewed by panels composed of Purdue Student Government members; Noah Scott, the current student trustee and members of the governor’s office.

He was alerted to his appointment through a surprise phone call.

“I was driving in my car, going to work and I pulled over pretty quick so I didn’t cause an accident,” Gee said. “I was really surprised and excited for the opportunity.”

As a student trustee, Gee will sit amongst other board members as a voting member. He’ll specifically be on the Academic Affairs and Physical Facilities committees, but he will have a voice in all other decisions the board makes.

Right now, Gee is going through the orientation process, meeting with other trustees and administrators to better understand how the board works and learning the background of any current issues the board has discussed. His first meeting will be on July 7.

Gee’s appointment goes into effect today. He will serve as a student trustee until 2023.

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