Just before his last class of the day, Donovan Hutchins, a senior marketing major with a minor in aerospace studies, sits at a picnic table near Mahoney-Pearson Residential College, barely able to keep his eyes open and head up.
The books and papers scattered everywhere around him suggest the pressures of being a student at the University of Miami.
“After I get done, I am just tired. Then I have homework and sometimes I might have a test the next day. I just got to suck it up and get through it. I have to remember I have a goal and do what it takes to accomplish it,” Hutchins said.
This student from Cedartown, Ga., is awake before most students at UM roll over to hit the snooze button on their alarm clocks and ends his day well after they finish classes.
A typical day for Hutchins begins with a 6 a.m. run around the campus loop with the Air Force ROTC.
Hutchins is currently the vice wing commander in Air Force ROTC, making him second in command.
Hutchins helps manage more than 80 cadets from nine different schools, training them in proper military protocol and standards. He is a strong cadet with a unique personality.
“He’s different, I’ll say that,” Benjamin Elias, a senior and fellow Air Force ROTC member, said. “One of the best aspects about Hutchins is that he can make fun of any situation. When I was a freshman in ROTC, I was a know-it-all, so Hutchins started calling me Baby Jesus from then on.”
His day usually ends around 9 p.m. after he conducts a meeting for the two Greek organizations that he presides over as president, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Phi Beta Sigma at UM.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council at UM is made up of the historically black Greek-letter organizations on campus.
“Considering that our chapter was in a building state, Hutchins took on the task of president and did an effective job,” Paul Martinowicz, a senior and Phi Beta Sigma brother, said.
“I saw it as another challenge. I wasn’t happy with the current perception of the NPHC on the campus, so I became more proactive,” Hutchins said.
“Ironhide,” the name given to Hutchins by Phi Beta Sigma, advises his “neos,” or new members, on matters of member intake, finances, social events and community service.
The military has taught Hutchins to be disciplined, and he tries to conduct precise meetings, but working with NPHC civilians is very different.
“Donovan is willing to listen and take advice. He has great leadership potential but it’s still a learning process,” Dayle Wilson, assistant dean of students and NPHC advisor, said. “He’s basically in between two places of being a student and being in the military, because when he’s in that uniform he is one person and outside of it he’s something else.”
Following graduation in May 2010, Hutchins will be heading to a Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to take space and missile courses; he will be starting out as a second lieutenant officer.
Hutchins will owe the Air Force four years of service, including deployment overseas, in return for the scholarship that he receives for participating in the program.