When it comes to junior Haden Gomez, there’s much more than meets the eye.
His close friend, junior Colleen Burns, whom he met while working as a leadership advisor in Hawthorn Hall, describes him as being like an onion.
“Every time we hung out, we always found out something new about him,” Burns said. “It was just like peeling back the layers one at a time.”
Gomez is originally from the small town of Ozark, Missouri, and breaking away from his comfort zone and coming to a highly populated college town was terrifying.
“I almost didn’t choose to even come to Mizzou,” Gomez said. “I really didn’t even have Mizzou on my radar at all.”
In fact, it wasn’t until he went through formal recruitment for Greek Life that he knew MU was the right place for him. He has since found a home in the Delta Chi fraternity, where he is proud to be a part of such a caring and involved brotherhood. He said joining a fraternity was one of the best decisions he has made in his life.
Senior Gunnar Johanson, who was a recruitment chair for Delta Chi at the time Gomez was rushing, remembers how impressed he was by Gomez’s ambition.
“I was immediately interested in Haden,” Johanson said. “He seemed like a really put-together freshman coming into the university. I’m very grateful to call him a friend and a fraternity brother.”
Since his freshman year, Gomez has branched out and made connections with people all across campus. Doing this has allowed him to see the vast amount of differing backgrounds students have, which is one of his favorite things about living in such a diverse environment.
Gomez is a biological science major and hopes to one day work as a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. During the past summer, he interned at a hospital in his hometown and loved the experience.
“It’s actually a lot like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ like people are just joking around, telling stories, as you’re cutting into someone,” Gomez said. “It’s kind of fun, but it’s also kind of scary.”
For the past five summers, Gomez has worked at the waterpark in Silver Dollar City, an amusement park in Branson. In addition to his hospital internship, he held the position of manager of the waterpark the past two summers. It is his favorite life experience and something he looks forward to each and every year.
Gomez enjoys just about anything having to do with the outdoors. If it’s nice out, expect to see him running along the MKT Trail, hiking and watching the sunset at the Pinnacles or swimming.
“Outside, I just fall in love,” Gomez said. “It’s incredible.”
Burns recalls a time when they were out hiking the Pinnacles on a warm spring day. They found two rather large sticks and spent a great deal of time sword fighting each other. Burns said “snow and Haden do not get along.” He much prefers warmer weather and will wear Sperry’s even in the cold of winter.
Despite Gomez claiming that he does not have any hidden talents, Burns says that he is an incredible singer. Back when they were both on residential life staff at Hawthorn, they used to go down to the music room to play the piano and sing.
“He doesn’t do it publically, but he does sing on a daily basis actually,” Burns said. “He doesn’t like to admit it.”
Gomez is also a huge fan of Sam Smith and Adele, Burns said. She went with him to a Sam Smith concert this past year and remembers how excited he was to have known every word to each of the songs that was played. After the concert they got the chance to meet Smith, and Gomez now has a picture of himself kissing Smith’s cheek.
Aside from music, Gomez also enjoys being able to spend time outside of his major working with pottery and seeing movies at Ragtag Cinema.
Burns is grateful for being friends with someone she believes to be so caring, compassionate and down-to-earth.
“I consider myself very lucky to have been on staff with him at Hawthorn, because I’ve definitely learned a lot from this friendship,” Burns said.