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Spring Day – Four Finals and a Couple of Papers

Four finals and a couple of papers – that’s the way a student translated this spring day for me as I walked cross campus a little while ago.

Earlier in the day, actually on the way to the Hays Center for work, I stopped by the front sign – as you can see I caught the tulips still in the "sleep cycle".    They never make it all the way to graduation – but I always hope they will!

Quiet, overcast day…headed to Louisville to talk to an alumnus about helping get that group reactivated.

 

Steve Mihalko '69 – He'll Be There

That’s Steve Mihalko ’69 (r) talking with Michel Douglas ’68 in Pittsburgh.  Mihalko is a retired Continental pilot who also flew for the Air Force.  He is, as a matter of fact, also a serious racquetball player.  Serious.  

Steve will be at the Big Bash in June and looks forward to catching up with his classmates.  Just don’t play him a game of racquetball for pink slips in the Allen Center!

 

Dick Cherry '49 – He'll Be At The Bash

That’s Dick Cherry ’49.  He was at the recent Pittsburgh dinner honoring Melissa Butler.

Dick’s just finished a two-year battle with some serious health challenges and, as you can see, won big time!

He’ll be back for his 60h reunion at this year’s Big Bash.  Of course, he wants to see a lot of Wabash men – especially his classmates.

With Dick making the trip, surely you’ll be there to see him and your classmates.

Eriks Janelsins '02 – Out Think and Out Work

I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with Eriks Janelsins ’02 at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV, yesterday.  That’s just a portion of the resort in the background.  To say the resort is beautiful is an understatement!  Golfers – the courses are by some guys named Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones.

Eriks is a talented young man whose career has gone from Vista volunteer right out of Wabash to a director of the educational segment of the Oglebay operation.  As we toured the area and walked through several buildings, it was clear Eriks is liked and respected by everyone from the CEO on down.

The answer to his rapid development is simple – Eriks credits Wabash for his approach and work ethic:  "I learned to think things through and work hard at Wabash and that’s what makes the difference here."  It was easy to see Eriks is at home here and is one of their best and brightest.

As I drove on to Pittsburgh, I had to smile.  A couple of hours with Eriks refreshed everything I believe about our college.  In 2002 then president Andy Ford H’03 challenged Eriks to go out and change the world…and he is! 

Rambling…

I’m off the next two days to Western PA, the old stomping ground of our Dean of Students turned AD, Tom Bambrey ’68.  Tom’s stories of growing up out there and finding his way to Wabash are classics.  The same is true of Chris Passodelis ’55 as well as his sons Chris and Bill, both Wabash men.

Of course, that got me thinking about Wabash in the good old days.  Different?  Yes.  Tough?  Yes.  A difference making place?  Absolutely.

Sometimes when we remember the Good Old Days, we’re really remembering the good of the old days, aren’t we?  My "good old days" we’re full of the Vietnam War and the unrest that went along with that unpopular war.  Kent State.  Protests.  The Draft.

But, as with all things in life, those memories have a way of melting into the background as the ringing of the Monon Bell, Freshman Saturday, Commencement, Homecoming, Comps results posted, and a million other good things take the forefront.  In those days, the college’s operating strength wasn’t even on our mental horizon.

But, today is different in that respect.  Serious challenges call for serious leadership and serious efforts.  This is a case in time where our will for things to go well will need to be backed up with proactive efforts to make it go well.  

You, that’s YOU, play a key role in this effort.

- Help us find an internship/ job for a young man.  Just a lead really helps.  
- Point out a young man who is Wabash material.  Get him referred to Admissions.
-  Send a gift, something you can afford, to Wabash for our young men – that’s where your gifts go – diretly towards educating these guys.  Good guys – just like you.  Not being able to do the same as last year may be a fact of life in this economy.  Doing something, anything, is good. 

Bill Cook ’66, and I have mentioned this before and will do so again I am sure, said three words last fall that continue to ring in my ears.  This Good Place.

Please invest in this, Our Good Place.

 

Michele And Heather – Awesome!

Today is Administrative Professionals Day.  On Wikipedia, it says today is:  “Administrative Professionals Day formerly known as Secretary’s Day is an unofficial secular holiday observed in the United States on the Wednesday of the last full week of April to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support professionals.”

Now, in the Grunge’s Funk and Wagnalls I translate this to mean today is a day to honor those who keep the place running like warm butter.
Here that would be Michele Tatar and Heather Bazzani.

Michele takes care of al our alumni and parent communications.  When we get something from a class agent and he says “can you send this out in the next 14 seconds” it’s Michele who calmly puts it all together and gets it magically out the door.   Quicker than a blink.

Big Bash administration?  Michele invented the Big Bash…along with Anne Ford!

Michele keeps our parents posted on the campus with the Parent Post.  She assembles the entire newsletter and makes sure it’s full of good information – just the kind of info Moms and Dads need.


Heather Bazzani
handles virtually all of the updates to the Alumni data base.  That’s a full time job.  Our guys are constantly moving, changing jobs, starting and growing families.  She’s the one who keeps it all straight.  She’s also the young lady you’ve talked when you called in to RSVP for one of the many Wabash events around the United States.

Heather also handles a myriad of other correspondence and catches virtually all of my spelling errors.

So today Mike Warren and I ask you to join us in a tip of the hat and a hearty “Well Done” to Michele and Heather for all they do for Wabash College and its many alumni, parents, and friends.

Terry Endsley '77 – Not sure where to start

Terry Endsley ’77 passed away last week.  Terry had been battling a brain tumor. His way-too-early passing leaves us all to wonder why.

Yesterday, when I was running, I thought back to the funeral and how he managed to live more in his 53 years than most do in 70-80…and it hit me.  Terry made every minute count and his days were obviously longer than most.  

-  Endless hours at Navistar – the only place Terry worked in his 32-year professional life.  From management trainee to the Board of Directors.  Unheard of today.

-  Great Dad and Husband.  It was plainly clear that he worked hard but he devoted himself to Cindy and their three children.  I could see it in their friends at the funeral…

-  I didn’t know Terry that well…we had played golf a time or two and met for breakfast when I was in Chicago and he could get away.  But in a strange way, I didn’t need to know him better to see the impact he had…and continues to have.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably summed up best by a note written by one of the many people at Navistar where Terry worked: "I guess God just needed another angel."

The photo at right is of the Hinsdale Golf Club where Terry belonged.  The flag flies at half-staff.  Fitting.

 

 

 

Brian Nietzel '90 – You Danced

Many of you may know alumnus Brian Nietzel, Class of 1990.  Brian lives in Minneapolis.  He is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and was a excellent diver on Gail Pebworth’s teams back in the late 1980s.

Others might know him as Brian Bates, Christian Music Singer.  He’s become quite popular.  Brian as recently featured on the home page of the Gospel Music Channel.  You gotta’ love what a liberal arts education prepares you to do.

 Thanks to Gail Pebworth and Hugh Vandivier ’91 for the information.

 You can check out his video on You Tube below. (It may take a few seconds to load.)

For more Wabash Stories, go to www.wabashstories.com.

 

Found! The Grunge's Tree

 

So, someone not too long ago told me there’s a tree in the arboretum that reminded them of me.  I wasn’t sure how to take that so, walking right into it, I asked: "What do you mean?"  They replied, as if on cue: "Old and Gnarly."

So I cruised the arboretum today and almost gave up when I spotted it…The Grunge Tree. (The one in the foreground.)  It’s not just gnarly in the mid-section, it’s all over gnarly!

One of our nine loyal readers asked a few days ago for some spring campus pictures so my journey was really to try to get some of those – usual and unusual.  For those photos, click here.