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Forging Ahead at Friendsgiving: Purdue Athletics Director's Dinner

On October 13, 2023, Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Bobinski, Jeanne Boyd, and the John Purdue Club team welcomed more than 200 guests to the first Athletics Director’s Dinner of the 2023–24 membership year.

The “Friendsgiving” inspired event provided an exclusive update on the state of Purdue Athletics to top level supporters as a way to show appreciation for the attendees’ continued commitment to Purdue student-athletes and staff.

Cozy Cocktail Reception

The evening began with a cocktail reception in Shively Club on the third floor of the Ross-Ade Stadium Pavilion. Offering panoramic views of Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue’s west side of campus, and the iconic Purdue water tower, Shively transformed into the ultimate hideout from the cold and rainy autumn night. John Purdue Club members were greeted with a signature drink—the Boiler Bourbon Smash—and light hors d’oeuvres before proceeding to the south end of Shively for dinner service.

Dinner Service

As cocktail hour came to a close, colleagues, classmates, family, and friends began making their way to their seating assignments to continue conversations and prepare for the program. Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Bobinski took the stage with Nate Barrett to discuss Purdue Athletics updates and his recent contract extension as Athletics Director. The two covered a range of topics, including Forging Ahead, conference realignments, Purdue Football Head Coach Walters’ first year, and changes in intercollegiate athletics across the nation (e.g., the usage of name, image, and likeness).

Forging Ahead with Tim House, Matt Ramos, and Coach Tony Ersland

To cap off the event, All-American wrestler and 2022 U.S. Open Champion Matt Ramos joined his coach, Tony Ersland, for a conversation with John Purdue Club leader Tim House.

The trio delivered firsthand insight as to how Purdue Athletics has positioned student-athletes and Athletics staff for success.

In eight years, Coach Tony Ersland secured 16 top-100 recruits and five top-25 recruiting classes. He has also sent 52 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. At Purdue, Ersland has tied the program high with eight wrestling qualifiers four times in seven years.

As a prominent figure across all Boilermaker sport programs, Ramos was an excellent speaker on what both academic and athletics success can look like at Purdue. In March 2023, Ramos pulled one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA Division I wrestling history when he ended Iowa star Spencer Lee’s quest for four national titles with a pin in the closing seconds of their semifinal match.

During his conversation with Coach Ersland and House, Ramos expressed that Purdue’s competitive environment is remarkably special and has given him a platform to excel in every aspect of his career. Ramos earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2023 and is passionate about assisting his younger cohorts in the wrestling program with achieving scholastic excellence.

When asked what he wants to do next, Ramos simply stated, “I want to be the most dominant wrestler in the nation.”

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