September 03, 2014

SEALs to discuss leadership, honor friend

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- U.S. Navy SEALs are known for dedication, professionalism and leadership under fire. 

Two senior enlisted leaders of SEAL Team 17 will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale to talk about leadership at a forum on Sept. 13 in the Student Center Auditorium.  The event coincides with the university’s annual military appreciation game and the Traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit on display Sept. 11-14, on the practice football field south of Saluki Stadium. 

Bruce DeRuntz, professor of technology and director of the College of Engineering’s Leadership Development Program, said the SEALs, who are remaining unnamed for security purposes, will speak on leadership principles, core values and other important aspects of leadership. The event is free and open to the public.

Media advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover this event, which is set for 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, in the Student Center Auditorium. The SEALs may be photographed but military officials request for security reasons that their last names not be used. For more information, contact Bruce DeRuntz, professor of technology, at 618/453-7829.

The Leadership Development Program was founded in 2006 by Dick Blaudow, an SIU engineering alumnus and CEO of Advanced Technology Services based in Peoria. Blaudow along with his wife, Brigitte, established the program to develop the next generation of America’s technical leaders. It holds as its core values: safety, honesty, accountability, respect and dedication.

The two-year program is aimed at shaping students for their roles as future executive leaders in industry. It seeks to provide students with leadership training, mentoring, community service opportunities, and financial support.

Students are selected based on their character, leadership potential, academic preparation, and community service. In addition, students also have an opportunity to complete a summer internship program with corporate sponsors.

Navy SEAL Will Bushelle, one of DeRuntz’s former students, is the inspiration for this year’s program. Bushelle gave a presentation to the leadership program, but died tragically in a car accident in February. 

“Will and I had become good friends during his time at SIU and he spoke last year and did a fantastic job,” DeRuntz said. 

DeRuntz met several of Bushelle’s SEALs colleagues while attending his funeral and the SEALs offered to help sustain Bushelle’s legacy in any way they could. 

“So I asked them to come speak like Will had done and they agreed to do so if we could get it set up,” DeRuntz said.  “It took a lot of work to get this all cleared through the Navy, but we’ve done it and we are looking forward to an excellent program that we want to share with the entire community.”