A personal message from "Dr. Dave" Meyer

By David Meyer, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dear family and friends of Drew,

My heart is overwhelmed with grief as I write these words in memory of one of my brightest and best students in recent history, who was also one of my most dependable and trustworthy undergraduate teaching assistants.

Perhaps one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed having Drew as a student in multiple courses, supervising him multiple semesters as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA), and relating to him on a personal level is that he reminded me so much of my own sons (also students at Purdue). Drew’s zany penchant for wearing shorts all the time (independent of weather conditions) as well as his love for hands-on engineering/mechanical work was virtually identical to the unique characteristics of my older son, Corben. The senior design project completed by Drew’s team — a semi-autonomous quad copter — was also consistent with my own son’s love for building and flying RC aircraft. Drew’s love for working on go-carts for the Cary Quad Racing Team brought back memories of the makeshift one created by Corben and his friends, which was somewhat illegally raced around the neighborhood until its wheels (literally) fell off.

Drew’s innate dedication to helping and serving others (his “other-centeredness”), his involvement in numerous extracurricular activities and volunteer work, and his deep desire to serve God by always doing the right thing were characteristics that constantly evoked an image of my younger son, Connor. Further, Drew and I shared the same “educational mission statement”: to help students learn, and to have fun in the process. We also shared focus on encouraging students to strive for professionalism — Drew was zealous in his promotion of academic honesty and integrity. My last conversation with Drew was minutes before the incident that took his life — he called my office to check about the references allowable on the lab quiz that was underway. Classic Drew: attention to detail, stickler for integrity, always wanting to do things the right way.

These are some of the reasons Drew’s passing has affected me so deeply on a personal level. We collectively mourn the shocking end to the life of a young man with so much ability and promise, but it is comforting to consider another viewpoint. Drew completed an extraordinary number of good works in an unusually short period of time — just like with his senior project, an extremely challenging design that he along with his teammates completed early, after which they voluntarily set out to help other teams complete their projects. Incredible ... but classic Drew.

Even outside his role as a teaching assistant, Drew was willing to share his intellect with others. He was always willing to help his contemporaries understand difficult concepts covered in class, and was known to attend help sessions with the homework already completed just to be able to assist others — even those he did not know. Incredible ... but classic Drew.

For full text, click here