Business law grad reflects on many opportunities at ASU
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.
Lilly Purdon, the W. P. Carey School of Business’ Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior awardee this semester, faced difficulty in her time at Arizona State University. She arrived from Thailand alone with two suitcases. Due to the pandemic and her financial situation, she hasn’t seen her family in more than three years. Still, the outstanding grad studying business law directs her focus on the many opportunities she’s had.
“A piece of advice I’d like to give to those still in school is to not be afraid and just do it,” Purdon said. “Grasp the opportunities that come to you. Apply to that internship, join that club, take that road trip with your friends. Don’t be afraid to take a break or reach out for help, advice or resources that could aid you. There are so many wonderful things you can experience as a student, so make the most of the time you have.”
Purdon did just that, earning a 4.0, being awarded with the New American Scholarship, the C.R. Krimminger Fund Scholarship, and the Sam and Ida Turken Family Scholarship, and being involved in campus life — from serving as a community assistant in the residence halls to joining the Sun Devil Motorsports Formula Electric Club, where she is the director of finance.
“My involvement across campus not only made me feel at home at ASU, but also built my leadership skills and helped me prepare for life after college,” Purdon said. “After three and a half years at W. P. Carey, I am truly thankful I decided to come here. ASU offers so many wonderful classes and opportunities for growth that has shaped me into the person I am today.”
We caught up with Purdon to learn more about her experience and goals.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I was initially a business administration major here at ASU. My "aha" moment that made me switch to business law was during one of my American Indian sovereignty/courts classes taught by Professor Richard Breuninger in my sophomore year. I was so captivated by the content we were studying that when a classmate turned to me and asked me what my name was, I nearly forgot and had to take a moment to remember. It was that moment that I acknowledged how every single week, I would look forward to going to this class, excited to learn more about the history of tribal sovereignty and how modern tribal law came to be.
That’s when I realized how passionate I was about learning more about the legal system which influenced me to major in business law.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: Something I learned at ASU that changed my perspective on life was in my existentialism class taught by Professor Thad Botham. Throughout the course, we explored numerous concepts including free will, religion and purpose, and had numerous discussions about the various topics. At the end of all of it, my takeaway was that life is uncertain and no one has the answer to it. I have grown comfortable with the uncertainty of life, and have learned to make the most of the opportunities that come my way. You have the freedom to shape your life into what you want it to be, beginning with your perspective.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus to meet with friends is the outdoor seating area outside of the (Memorial Union)! It’s the perfect spot to grab lunch or a coffee in between classes and experience the buzz of the campus. It’s also great for studying — make sure to bring headphones — especially when the weather begins to cool down in the late fall.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation, I will be joining CVS Health’s General Management Development Program. I am also planning to save up to attend law school in the future.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would use it to fund education for children across the globe. Growing up with a dad who is a teacher made me a firm believer that education is the solution to many of our problems. Knowledge not only empowers people and gives them access to more opportunities, but expands their minds, allowing them to explore solutions to existing problems. I believe giving everyone access to education could truly shift people’s consciousness, pushing us towards more positive and impactful changes, whether it’s in health care, environment, etc. Through education, we can work to build a better future for ourselves and the generations to come.