By Savannah Saunders ‘11
A “quintessential Hendrix man,” Stephen Borutta is modest, smart, funny, and responsible. He is always looking to the future, making new friends in students and professors alike along the way.
Growing up in suburban Webster Groves, Mo., Borutta was inspired his hometown high school’s tradition and sense of community.
“Whether it was Webster pride or the Kirkwood rivalry, we’re one community … together,” he said.
Borutta, a sophomore chemistry major, chose Hendrix because it has the same sense of community, he said.
He also chose Hendrix, with the help of Loren Pope’s Colleges that Change Lives, because of the individualized attention faculty members provide.
“I had great relationships with my teachers in high school, so it was important that I am able to interact with my professors on a friendly basis,” said Borutta, praising his advisor Dr. Liz Gron, Professor of Chemistry, for all the help she has provided.
“Students like Stephen are Hendrix's strength—smart, passionate, and effective,” said Dr. Gron. “Mr. Borutta is a high energy organizer with an unfailingly positive attitude.”
Outside of class, Borutta is the outreach chair for Ecogrease Lightning (www.ecogreaselightning.org), a non-profit organization in Missouri he founded with friends from high school.
“There are five of us, and we’re converting a bus to run on grease,” he said. “Our biggest goal, though, is to educate people on the benefits of using biodiesel fuel and other alternative energy sources.”
They will travel cross-country in the bus running completely on waste vegetable oil and volunteer at every stop they make.
“10,000 miles is our ultimate goal,” he said.
Borutta, who played soccer and track and field in high school, is on the Hendrix track and field team, running the steeple chase.
“You know, the one where if I run into any of the obstacles, I’ll fall and, most likely, break my ankle,” he jokes.
Despite running a non-profit in another state, running steeple chase on the track and field team, and keeping up with his rigorous studies, Borutta still finds time to actively participate in the Hendrix community. For example, he is the co-founder and co-president of the Outdoors Club, which he calls the “coolest thing.”
“We do whatever we want. You want to go on a hike or go canoeing one weekend? Just call up the rest of the members and whoever wants to come out can,” said Borutta, who often conducts hiking, backpacking, and canoeing trips that all tie into certain educational experiences.
“In the classroom, he has chosen to major in chemistry, but his passion is for applying science to the outdoors and to helping others,” said Dr. Gron.
If that isn’t enough, he is also a disc jockey for KHDX, the Hendrix student radio station. He hosts alongside sophomores Kevin Theall and Clare Mauney every Tuesday from 7 – 9 p.m.
Stephen Borutta seems to capture all aspects of being a Hendrix student, but he insists he is a product of the institution.
“You’re in college to be happy and learn what is going to make you happy in the future. To learn how you are going to be happy.”
Savannah Saunders is a senior English major (with Creative Writing emphasis) and field hockey player from San Diego, Calif. She is a student writer in the Office of College Relations.