Not too many people would drastically change their current life and move to a foreign country. Former SDSU professor Duane Wulf will do just that when he and his family move to Mexico on Sept. 21.
Wulf was a meat science professor for 11 years at SDSU. Prior to that, he worked for three different companies in the meat industry.
In June 2008, Wulf and his wife took a week-long and life-changing trip to Mexico during which they visited an orphanage. They have been to Mexico a total of four times.
Since then, Wulf has had a feeling that he is supposed to be doing something more. After six months of praying, Wulf and his wife made the decision to move. As of right now, they are moving for an indefinite amount of time and have no plans to move back.
“We just feel like God has called us to do this. My wife and I feel blessed and want to do something to help the less fortunate,” said Wulf.
Kelly Bruns, animal science professor, said that Wulf has a true interest in the quality of education for students and is very passionate about what he does. Bruns has worked with Wulf for 11 years.
“Wulf is a very organized person with well-defined goals,” said Bruns. “His characteristics rub off on us even as professors. People from the region and on campus will support him in his decision.”
Clint Rusk, the new head of the animal and range sciences department, has known Wulf since about 1994 and was excited to work with him again. Rusk and Wulf worked together at Colorado State University and judged a cattle show in Kansas three years ago.
“Duane has a servant heart,” Rusk said. “He is a great role model for the younger faculty. Part of his focus is helping people without wanting credit for his work.”
In Mexico, Wulf will start out with a meat processing company. It will be a non-profit entity run as a business. Through jobs there, he will teach orphan teens the basic skills of life through hands-on work. People can donate to develop the programs that Wulf is planning to do.
“[Wulf] told me to find something that I’m passionate about, and try to be the best at it,” said Sarah Wells, animal science graduate student. “I think that’s what makes him such a good teacher.”
Wells took Food Safety with Wulf and taught a Meat Judging class with him. He was also her graduate adviser.
The children that Wulf will be working with in Mexico are high school and college age. The goal is to help children leaving an orphanage find careers and help them gain a sense of accomplishment. Wulf wants to give them opportunities to go to college and find jobs. He will teach leadership, work ethic and communication skills.
“I think it’s really great what he’s doing. It takes a lot of strength to make the move, and I know Wulf has a strong faith and follows his beliefs. It’s an industry that he’s passionate about,” Wells said.
There will be a reception on Saturday, Sept. 19 to honor Wulf’s work at SDSU. It will be in the Animal Science Arena from 1 to 3 p.m.
“I’ve been to other countries, but never actually thought about moving. It’s very hard to leave SDSU. I have love for SDSU alumni and professors,” Wulf said. “Both the community of Brookings and the campus have been a great place to be around.”