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Alumni Profile: Jared Purcell ’12

By: Jonathan Pederson

Jared M. Purcell graduated Randolph-Macon Academy in 2012, ready to enroll into Emory and Henry College.  Despite being nearly 300 miles away, Purcell kept good ties to R-MA, actively visiting R-MA and attending alumni events.  He proudly joined R-MA’s Alumni Board of Directors in 2013.

While attending R-MA, Purcell enrolled in Mr. Latham’s German Class.  Already passionate about linguistics, Purcell engaged this class with great enthusiasm, and he continued to learn a variety of languages before graduating R-MA.  Purcell followed his passion for linguistics and diverse culture at Emory and Henry as an International Relations major.

Among the many cultures that fascinated him, Purcell developed a particular interest for Russian culture and language.  This led him to study abroad at Lomonosov, Moscow State University in the Faculty of International Languages.  While there, Purcell enrolled in a variety of classes to help him embrace the culture, to include three distinct comprehensive language classes: intense reading, grammar, and speech.  Other classes include Russian history, Russian literature, and Russian political system.

Prior to studying in Russia, Purcell had the opportunity to travel Europe.  Starting at Netherlands, Purcell and his brother traveled through Bavaria, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia.  Purcell said one of his highlights was staying in Finland, where he remained above the arctic circle in Lapland for two days.  Throughout his travels, Purcell gained a taste of each culture, broadening an already wide understanding of European society.  He aims to continue in his travels to walk every capital in Europe and taste some of each culture in Europe.

Being a leader is one of Purcell’s strongest qualities, one that particularly shined in his days at R-MA.  Aside from joining R-MA’s cadre, Purcell became the “bigger brother” figure in students’ lives.  Many students trusted and looked up to him. “It was the greatest pleasure to watch others develop into greater men and women.  I miss leading my fellow cadets, wherever they may be,” he said.

Purcell also misses many of the staff members at R-MA.  When we asked him which adult influenced him the most, he responded, “I feel this question is unfair, because it’s not just the one great individual at R-MA, it’s the collective of great people who inevitably and willingly come together to build a family.” 

However, he did name several individuals. “MSgt Pederson USAF Retired, who tended to my emotional needs when I needed support and [helped me keep] my head on straight; Lt.Col RG McManus USAF Retired, who always made me feel like I needed to work harder and raise my standard, (like taking off a gig for a long string on a button, and in complete denial that his shoes weren’t as shiny as mine). Col. Sadler USAF Retired, like a father to me, guiding me whether I need it or not, and I couldn’t thank him enough for promoting me into the cadre program within my first year; Dean Craig Porter, a man who also showed me a love for literature and life lessons I value, and continued with [Brandon] Sloan; Mr. [Mitch] Hubbard, who pushed me to my academic limits, and taught me healthy competition; Sgt French, for a reason to get caramel and cream coffee in the morning and comic relief; Mr. Payne and Mr. Locklear, for their assistance in the dorms and being a great support. Lastly, 1st Sgt [Tony] Cerella USA Retired, for teaching me how to be a great man and how to be vigilant in all aspects. I could go on.”

Following his studies abroad, Purcell has planned to take a fifth year in college to gain a master’s degree in English education to help him become a teacher.  Purcell is also interested in working for the federal government in a position of security or the state department.  Naturally, he intends to expand his knowledge of cultures and linguistics and hopes to continue traveling.