Tech student-body president called ‘charismatic leader’

By Tammy Keith Originally Published May 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 3, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
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Nick Hillemann

Hunter “Wallace” Mullins, Arkansas Tech University's student-body president, and has been accepted to the Clinton School of Public Service.

Hunter “Wallace” Mullins of Russellville is the kind of student every teacher wants in class and the kind of son every mother dreams of having.

He’ll graduate May 11 from Arkansas Tech University with a 4.0 in a triple major and head to the Clinton School of Public Service.

“I’ve always loved public service,” he said. “If I had the ability to help out, why shouldn’t I?”

Mullins, 22, has made his mark at Arkansas Tech the past four years, including serving as the 2012-2013 president of the Student Government Association.

“Hunter is a very well-liked student on campus,” said Amy Pennington, dean of students. “He is a charismatic leader. He’s able to connect with people from all backgrounds. He’s very friendly. … He’s just a communicator. Because of that, he’s been able to fill many leadership roles. He’s definitely been very involved and had a great balance between academics and the extracurricular involvement.”

Mullins said most people on campus call him Wallace. It’s “just a nickname,” he said.

An Honors College student, he is past president of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and he credits his fraternity brothers who “got the ball rolling” for him in leadership activities.

Mullins said it wasn’t a given that he would attend Arkansas Tech, even though his father, Steve, is the school’s athletic director and former football coach.

Mullins’ mother, Liz, is an elementary school teacher in the Russellville School District.

He said he was 7 when his father got the coaching job at Tech and his family moved from Louisiana to Russellville.

Although Mullins played some football, it was wrestling that he stuck with through high school.

When it came time to pick a college, he had options.

“I visited OSU, LSU, Drury University and Arkansas Tech, and Tech just had the greatest draw in terms of scholarship and ease,” he said. “I’ve had opportunities here I wouldn’t have anywhere else.”

He said he was somewhat concerned about going to school close to home.

“I was a little bit worried it was going to be like 13th grade,” he said.

He didn’t jump right into activities when he started at Tech.

“My fall semester, I wasn’t part of anything, and then my spring semester, I wanted to get involved, and I knew a few guys in Sig Ep,” he said.

Mullins served as the Sig Ep vice president of recruitment and then president.

“I was SGA president and Sig Ep president at the same time for one semester, so that was pretty hectic,” he said.

“Dad was a football coach and always educated me on leadership, but Sig Ep encouraged me to get involved with other things,” Mullins said.

He ran for senator-at-large in the SGA and was elected vice president for public relations.

“After that, I just wanted to give back,” he said.

He has been a member of the Order of Omega, an organization for Greek leaders, and on the Presidential Leadership Cabinet. He spent three summers as an orientation leader for new students, and he said that every day, he’d have “the talk” with students.

“I would tell them to get involved. I would tell them that you shouldn’t treat it as a high school; it’s not a backpack

college,” he said. “Branch out and meet people. Study, of course.”

He has three majors: journalism/public relations; journalism/print; and speech/communication.

His goal was to get a 4.0, and he retook the one class he made a B in to accomplish that goal.

“It almost saddens me to see people pass up on their potential. At the end of the day, there’s no reason you can’t get that A; no reason you can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish,” he said.

In addition to all of his work on campus, he has contributed time in the Russellville community.

Through the Wesley Foundation Age-to-Age program, he volunteered in a big-brother role with a child in the Russellville School District.

“Sometimes we’d help them with their homework or go play in the park,” he said.

Most of his contributions have come through SGA.

“We’ve had blood drives, trash pickups, and I feel like we’ve helped the administration get a lot better understanding of the student body,” he said.

Some accomplishments under his leadership include extending the cafeteria hours and improving campus lighting.

“We’re looking into bike racks and a recyclable initiative for water,” he said.

“Obviously, it wasn’t just me. This was a group effort,” he said. “It was the faculty; it was the students; it was the Student Government Association.”

Mullins said he’s serious when he needs to be, but he also said, “I like to have fun. I like to laugh.”

Case in point is his part in a lighthearted project for a serious cause.

Stupid for Smarts raised money for children in Haiti. He said it was a collaborative effort among him; his girlfriend, Kathryn Ward, who has been on mission trips to Haiti; and photographer Liz Chrisman.

For a $10 donation, people could request silly situations in which Mullins posed, and Chrisman took photos.

He slipped on a banana suit and walked around Kroger, he wore a dress and worked out in a gym, and he put on “full winter gear” in the summer and stood in front of a bank sign that displayed the temperature — 95 degrees.

Those photos can be viewed at www.facebook.com/stupid

forsmarts.

He said the group raised $500 toward the mission project.

“I want to go; I haven’t been,” he said.

Mullins isn’t sure where his life is headed, other than in a positive direction.

“I feel like going to the Clinton School is a great way to make a lot of connections and do good,” he said. “If I have a goal or an objective, nothing’s going to stop me. That doesn’t mean you have to step on people to get there.

“I’m a firm believer that you can accomplish anything you want to, but you don’t have to hurt other people to do it,” he said.

“I don’t want to define myself with a job. I’m not going to let a career own me,” he said.

“All I know is I want to do as much good as I can. Some people are goal-driven, and they think it’s all them. I am the result of the help I have received along the way.”

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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