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Michael Gunderson

Michael Gunderson

Professor/Director, Center for Food & Agricultural Business | Purdue University | Class of 2001

Practically everything 2017 ACES Young Alumni Award winner Michael Gunderson knows about being a leader, he picked up from Lynette Marshall.

She’s now the president of the University of Iowa Foundation. He’s the director of Purdue’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business.

But back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, they were both on the same Big Ten campus — her as an associate UI dean, him as an ambitious advancement office student helper and undergrad studying agribusiness/farm and financial management.

“Lynette is the most remarkable leader I have ever personally witnessed and to this day model my leadership style after hers,” he says. “Although I was merely an intern in the ACES Advancement Office, Lynette and her team never made any of us feel less than a full contributor to the office’s activities and successes.

“She always made time to learn about us and encourage us in our passions and professional aspirations. She trusted interns implicitly, and we enjoyed unfettered access to the office to complete intern work or homework.

“If there was opportunity for improvement, Lynette was gracious in sharing feedback and built a culture among her team to do likewise. I learned a great deal about behaving professionally in the office, making every person that walked through the door feel special, and valuing the land-grant education we received.”

As for a favorite spot on the UI campus, “while the ACES Advancement Office was pretty great, no place beat the White Horse Inn,” Gunderson says. “I recall 10-cent wings, the ranch dressing, Sunday tacos and the beer garden with great fondness.

“In the winter, huddling in the warm, dimly lit pit in the middle of the bar was the best way to relieve the stress of an exam or presentation.”