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Cagle Meets with Student Journalists

Howard W. Hewitt – One of the national’s top political cartoonists is on campus meeting with students, classes, and will give a public lecture tonight.

Daryl Cagle, political cartoonist for MSNBC, will speak at 8 p.m. in Baxter Hall. Besides his work for MSNBC he has a cartoon syndication business with close to 900 member newspapers.

Today Cagle met with Dr. David Hadley’s polticial cartooning class and with members of the student newspaper’s staff. Cagle spent nearly an hour with Dick Page ’07 and Patrick Millikan ’07. Page and Millikan both draw cartoons for the Bachelor.

Cagle joined 15 members of the Bachelor staff for lunch and engaged in a lively discussion about cartooning. He also quizzed the staff about Wabash College.

His interaction with students was entertaining and engaging. He noted political cartoonists look to stir people up. He encouraged the students to come to his evening presentation when he’ll review cartoons from throughout his career – and at least one to offend everyone!

For more on Cagle click here for news story.

In photo: Cagle looks over the work of Page, at his right, and Millikan. On homepage: Cagle discusses cartoon artwork with Patrick Millikan.

Cooking in the President’s Kitchen

Steve Charles—Since his arrival on campus, President Pat White has been encouraging members of the Wabash community to get to know one another better and to join in the "grand conversation" of the liberal arts. He wants those conversations to happen in and out of the classroom, in professor’s offices and homes, and wherever members of this community gather.

Including his own kitchen.

When Pat heard about the culinary expertise of Robert Van Kirk — Sphinx Club member and president of the campus’s most popular group, the Wabash Cooking Club — he invited them to Elston Homestead. First Lady Chris White welcomed Van Kirk and fellow Cooking Club member Josh Owens ’07 and a remarkable evening ensued. (Click here for photos.)

Robert, who has been cooking since his boyhood days and whose father was in the restaurant business, served as chef and teacher, offering a primer on everything from the smoking point of various cooking oils to the right way to prepare juicy, succulent, and non-rubbery shrimp.

But as delicious as the meal was (and this guy can really cook — I’ve never tasted better shrimp), the conversations were even better. Robert had prepared some of the food ahead of time and had intentionally chosen seafood and beef dishes that he could cook while carrying on conversations with his welcoming host and hostess.

"If you choose something more complex, you’ll leave your guests to fend for themselves while you toil away in the kitchen," Robert said. "But this sort of dish actually facilitates conversation. Your guests can be in the kitchen with you, and you can continue to enjoy one another while the food is cooking. It helps everyone feel more relaxed and at home."

And, on this night, at home in the President’s kitchen.

These sorts of social tips, along with culinary skills, are being taught at the Cooking Club’s weekly meetings, which draw scores of students to the Delt kitchen every Sunday.

And if Van Kirk’s and Owens’ dinner for the President is any indication of how food can be a catalyst for "the grand conversation," the Cooking Club ought to become a required course!

In photo: Robert Van Kirk, Josh Owens, and First Lady Chris White enjoy cooking and conversation in the Elston Homestead kitchen. 

Blix Chapel Talk Turns Instructional

 Howard W. Hewitt – Chapel Talk is one of those wonderful Wabash traditions perhaps a bit difficult to explain to the outside world.

Some Chapel talks are quite serious, academic, and even sobering at times. Other Chapel talks are often entertaining, inspiring, or even a bit “cheerleading.”

David Blix seems to find a way each time he takes a spot behind the Pioneer Chapel podium of combining all those qualities into a 20-30 minute speech.

Blix, an Associate Professor of religion who is on sabbatical, filled in at the last minute as Thursday’s speaker at request of the Sphinx Club. He began by noting he was a last-minute substitute and hoped the Club would realize the cost would be steep. He muttered something about his supply of a certain 35-year-old beverage being “alarmingly low.”

He talked about “thymos’ – the Greek word for spiritedness. He wove the Socrates’ writings about community while discussing Wabash traditions Chapel Sing and freshman pots.

Blix noted his love of Chapel Sing and the spirit it represents. How the singing of “Old Wabash” builds a bond and best illustrates a Wabash man’s spirit. He warned the students gathered to avoid people who suppress thymos.

“Feel sorry for them for they have no passion, no soul, no life,” he admonished.

No doubt the highlight was his instructional period with freshmen in attendance. Blix praised the Senior Council for bringing back the green and red freshman pots. But he lamented the lack of decorum and proper tipping of the pot across campus.

Then in full instructional mode he brought five freshmen to the stage and illustrated all of the wrong ways to properly tip a pot. Using his own pot he illustrated the extend arm tip and appropriate greeting. He had the freshman give it a try by bringing members of the Sphinx Club to the stage.

Business was good at the Bookstore after Blix’s Thursday Chapel talk. The green and red pots were back in stock.

Listen to a  podcast of Blix’s full speech.

In photos: Above right: Blix wearing his pot. Lower right: Freshman show the wrong ways to tip a pot. On homepage: Blix illustrates the correct way to greet one deserving a freshman’s respect.

“Weird” music, great listening

Audiences watching percussionist Syud Momtaz Ahmed ’07 perform at Wabash know the incredible focus, experimentation, and joy he brings to his music.

Now the rest of the world is going to hear it, too.

Taz, as he’s known to us at Wabash, is the percussionist for Ajob, a band from his native Bangladesh that is the youngest group ever to sign with that country’s Ektaar label. The group’s long awaited debut CD was released in September 2006.

“Ajob, which literally means ‘Weird’, is not just another intrigue-junkie fusion band with no teeth,” writes the website Banglamusic.com. “Almost all the songs of their self-titled album exude musical experimentation of the finest order.”

Bangladesh’s The Star weekend magazine is similarly enthusiastic about fusion bands like Taz’s Ajob, which often blends the lyrics of the Baul tradition with western instrumentation and rhythms: “Be it the lyrics, the tune, the fusion of traditional instruments and western instruments, or the catchy western beats mixed in with the husky, spiritual sounds of Bangladeshi folk music, fusion and remixes have created a stepping stone for the new and improved Bangladeshi music world.”

For Taz, the music provides a necessary counterbalance to his studies and research as a chemistry major at Wabash. Once aspiring to a career in medicine, the senior has spent the past three summers doing research in materials chemistry and plan to pursue his doctorate in that field. He also plans always to have music part of his life.

“Music is a hobby that I love,” Taz says. “It’s a great escape for me; when I am playing music, I don’t have a care in the world. As a percussionist, I have that ability to make a song festive, angry, or sad. Music is my way of expressing how I think and how I feel about things; my perspective.”

The percussionist says his band’s first CD “is made with a lot of love.

“There’s this huge generation gap in music in my country,” Taz explains. “Most young people have migrated to Western music, but Ajob is attracting the younger audience in a way that other Bangladeshi bands don’t. We hope that they find the music interesting, but we want them to understand the deeper metaphorical meanings of the old, traditional folk tunes. They’re part of our culture, our heritage.”

Taz will be featured in the Fall 2006 issue of Wabash Magazine.

Click here or here to hear music from the CD.

Dudevoir ’06 Salutes Fallen Brothers

Howard W. Hewitt – Matt Dudevoir ’06 poked a little fun at himself in Thursday’s Chapel Talk. He admitted following the President and Dean was a daunting assignment.

“I’ve never heard of me either,” he opened. “Who better to follow such accomplished and intimidating men, than some guy who took six years to graduate from Wabash and still hasn’t moved out of Crawfordsville? Nice going, Sphinx Club.”

But the reason it took Dudevoir six years to graduate was because of his commitment to the National Guard. Duedvoir is on active duty as a Second Lieutenant in the 151st Long Range Surveillance branch. He is also working in a Guard development program trying to recruit new officers. He has served a tour of duty in Afghanistan

But after a few jabs at President Pat White regarding the works of Herman Melville, Dudevoir got to the gist of his comments on Sgt. Jeremy Wright ’96, and Sergeant Major Jeffrey Jeff McLochlin ’81 Both were killed in Afghanistan.

“Wright and McLochlin were extraordinary men, for even in such elite company as the Green Berets or the Army Rangers, they were held in awe by their peers,” Dudevoir said. “They were giants among giants, but before any of this they were Little Giants. It is telling, I think, that at the Wabash College alumni run this fall, Jeremy Wright’s family returned to Wabash to see his friends run together. Likewise, when I met the McLochlin family and told them that I was a Wabash man, his sister’s eyes welled up with tears. ‘The happiest days of my life,’ she told me, ‘Were when I would watch Jeff play football at Wabash. Do they still say ‘DePauw to Hell, we’ve got the Bell?’ ”

He held up the two fallen soldiers as examples of Wabash Always Fights and challenged the students to be like their Wabash brothers.

“A soldier does not subject his body to the abuses of Ranger School in order to wear a little strip of cloth, anymore than an athlete pushes his body to its limits day after day just to earn a varsity letter or a championship ring, nor anymore than a Wabash student pledges the Sphinx Club and endures a semester of hazing just to wear a little white hat, or how a young man volunteers to attend an all-male institution and work like a dog for four years just to earn a diploma. We might think we challenge ourselves in order to earn these trifling emblems of accomplishment, but I am certain that it is something far greater and more insatiable that drives us to push ourselves time after time.”

Dudevoir challenged the young men to do great things because they know that they can and because they’d let themselves down if they did not. “You will pursue this quest tirelessly to the end of your days, for your work is never done, but its pursuit will be its own reward. Wabash Always Fights, and so shall each of you Little Giants. Those who choose this sort of life are truly Giants, even among their own kind, for their accomplishments carry the rest of us along with them to newer and greater places. This is the legacy of Sgt Wright and SGM McLochlin, but theirs is not a legacy for soldiers alone, nor is the military the sole arena whereby Wabash men may achieve greatness.”

Dudevoir’s entire Chapel talk is available as a Podcast.

Dean Urges Care Writing E-mail

Howard W. Hewitt – What is it that goes on while the world changes, babies are born, terrorist plots are hatched and shifting of the earth’s crust? “E-mail,” was the answer suggested Thursday by Dean of the College Gary Phillips. 

Dean Phillips was the second Chapel Talk of the new year and closely followed the themes set forth the previous week by President Patrick White. The President urged students to make their communication with the Wabash community a face-to-face experience. 

Phillips tackled the challenge of e-mail noting that daily incoming and in-house e-mail averages 37 messages a day for every member of the Wabash community. 

“Maybe we should change inbox to incoming,” he quipped. Using classical references and the writings of the Apostle Paul he urged students to think about how e-mail is used at the College.

He quoted several studies on the costs of e-mail, the amount of time everyone spends responding to e-mail and described the technology as a bit of a “loose cannon.”

“We forget the brother or sister sitting before the display on the other end,” he said.

He offered four points for “Writing the Wrongs” of e-mail usage. The first was ‘critique.’ He urged the big crowd not to  judge in advance and think seriously about what they have written. Second, he urged “conscience” noting that a screen is not a face. His third point was “community.”

“How will what is being said enhance one another,” he questioned. Finally, the Dean suggested “care” completed the package. When firing off an e-mail do we show and express a caring for each other.

You can listen to the complete talk by podcast, which should be available later today.

Big Turnout For Study Abroad Details

Howard W. Hewitt – Students packed Detchon Hall to learn more about studying abroad Tuesday at lunch. Dr. Rick Warner talked with students about the opportunities available and how to apply.

Three students spoke during a pizza lunch about their personal experiences last school year.

John Frank ’07 spent a semester in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Frank talked about the university’s programs on art and architecture. He was able to travel much of Europe, including Brussels, Paris, Rome, and London.

He shared classes with students from Russia, and many European countries.

Matt Feipel ’07 lived just south of Sydney, Australia, during his semester. He also cited the opportunities to travel as a major benefit to the program. His experience was with mostly Australian students.

Brock Johnson ’07 was immersed in German culture during the spring and summer months. Johnson studied in Frieberg and took all his classes with other German students instead of English-speaking programs. He urged the big turnout to take advantage of the opportunity to travel if they go to Europe for study.

Johnson, a Board of Publications photographer, ended the presentation with a slide show from his European travels.

Director of Off-Campus Studies David Clapp said about 60 Wabash students study abroad each year.

When visiting with many alumni it’s surprising how many cite a semester abroad as a turning point in their career plans or their lives. Many students return energized by the cultural experience. The students just returning have a lot to share about their experiences. Underclassmen would be well served to seek out these guys and learn first-hand how much a foreign study program can shape their future.

In photos: Above, John Wolpers ’09 listens to Dr.  Warner discuss study abroad options. On home page: Johnson talks about his experience while Frank and Feipel listen.