Senior Spotlight: Elijah McCutcheon Leaves a Legacy of Student Leadership at Otterbein when he Graduates on May 1

Posted Apr 29, 2022

By Riley Hysell ’22

The campus community will celebrate the achievements of a thoughtful and enterprising student leader when senior Elijah McCutcheon walks across the stage on Sunday, May 1. His involvement on campus has been great, including his roles as student trustee on Otterbein’s Board of Trustees, president of the diversity organization Men of Vision, and secretary for the African American Student Union.

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Elijah McCutcheon ’22

As he prepares for graduation, McCutcheon considers how his role as a student leader has shaped him, as well as how he hopes to have shaped these roles for future students.

From early on, McCutcheon found that his experience at Otterbein was having an impact on his direction both as a leader and as a person.

“Originally, my plan was to be a medical malpractice lawyer,” McCutcheon explained. “As I continued to experience college and figure things out, it became clear that law just wasn’t for me. This is going to sound cliche, but I wanted to really change the world.”

At the same time that McCutcheon was working through these thoughts about his future, he was already establishing a presence on campus. “I was an Orientation Leader, Peer Mentor, Resident Assistant. Everything you can think of connected to leadership, I did,” McCutcheon said.

It was these and other similar experiences that led him to his current goal of working in higher education and, specifically, student affairs.

He observed, “My goal and my entire trajectory changed because of my experience here at Otterbein”.

McCutcheon was also shaped more directly by his role as student trustee. He described how grateful he is to have had the chance to see “behind the scenes of higher education,” prior to going into the field professionally. The role has also instilled in McCutcheon a respect for what it means to lead and how leadership positions can be used to help others.

“A lot of students don’t know what it takes to get them that scholarship or internship opportunity,” McCutcheon added.

However, McCutcheon considered not only how Otterbein has shaped him, but how he hopes he has shaped a piece of Otterbein in return.

“I made my experience at Otterbein what I wanted it to be and that’s my legacy,” McCutcheon explained. “Anyone can make it what they want it to be.”

While Otterbein is losing a student trustee, McCutcheon hopes he has left an impact and made a difference.

In truth, Otterbein is not losing a leader — the world outside of Otterbein is gaining one. McCutcheon will attend the University of Dayton this fall, where he will pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs.

“I am hoping to be working in a college institution, helping create a safe space for students,” McCutcheon beamed. “If I can do that, it gives students the opportunity to also make a better world for themselves and their families.”