On Thursday, February 23, Peter Ruppert ‘86 received the McDermond Medal. Ruppert was honored for demonstrating a strong sense of leadership and success in his career as an entrepreneur. President White presented Ruppert his medal following his inspirational honorary lecture in the UB Ballroom through the McDermond Center.
Ruppert, a management fellow alum, presented an honorary speech highlighting parts of his career, success, and memories at DePauw. He emphasized his failures and how they ultimately drove him to success.
In DePauw's Management Fellow program, all first-years are required to read Ruppert’s book, “Limitless: Nine Steps to Launch Your One Extraordinary Life.” In this book, Ruppert shares nine steps that can drive you to success.
One of the key takeaways that Ruppert shared is that you can't be successful without risk and failure. Following Ruppert’s first year, he received a letter from the head of the management fellows department. In the letter, he was told that he did not fulfill the minimum GPA requirement to be in the program. Therefore, he would be dismissed in the fall.
Ruppert decided that he would meet with the director and beg to stay in the program. Under terms and conditions, he was on probation but still a management fellow. With hard work and perseverance, he got his grades up and secured a semester-long internship. Ruppert described his internship as “life-changing.”
Jess Purte, a sophomore management fellow, shared, “My biggest takeaway from Peter Ruppert’s lecture was even when times get rough, never give up and push through because you can learn from your biggest failures.”
Ruppert shared that there were many times throughout his career that he would be considered unemployed. Although that was a scary thought, Ruppert persevered through taking risks and believing in himself.
Following a career in entrepreneurship, Ruppert found a passion for education. He combined his career and passion while taking a huge risk and started a company that ultimately transitioned into Fusion Academy, a specialized school providing students with a one-on-one education.
“I was given it at the end of the year to start this company,” Ruppert said. “In December, I found an investor.”
Ruppert has grown his company and now Fusion Academy can be found internationally and in all 50 states.
Ruppert’s speech was inspirational to all students who attended the lecture. Specifically, his message and experiences were appreciated by the management fellows.
“I think my biggest takeaway from Rupert coming to campus was that it shows the student body how much former students appreciate both the university and the Management fellows program,” said first-year management fellow Joe Murdock. “Listening to his experiences and learning from his lessons really excites students and motivates them to push their boundaries.
Ruppert’s nine steps to an extraordinary life encourages students to persevere through hardships and take risks believing in themselves.
“The part that stuck with me the most was to never ever give up,” said sophomore management fellow Grace Miller. “He had great advice about setting goals and I believe if you set a goal and never give up, you can achieve great things. All of the advice he gave was really applicable to his own story and it was cool to see how successful he is through his goal-making and endurance.”
Ruppert has recently joined the board of trustees for DePauw University. In this position, he will be able to continue to be invested in his passion for education while also helping DePauw progress and improve.
“It was an honor to listen to his lecture and witness the medal ceremony, and I can’t wait for him to come back to campus!” said Murdock.