Jim Amidon — Here in the Public Affairs Office at Wabash College, we spend most of our time celebrating in words and photos the achievements of Wabash’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We focus our attention on those within the community who publish academic papers, present lectures, sing in the Glee Club, and the men who score game-winning touchdowns.
Through Wabash Magazine, we similarly celebrate the accomplishments — personal and professional — of our alumni around the world, and raise their voices in the magazine’s pages.
On rare occasions, I have the opportunity to focus the spotlight on some of my colleagues in Public Affairs, too. And it was a really good week for four of my colleagues.
Kim Johnson, who is our communications and marketing specialist but does more design and photography work than anything, received special recognition from Lt. Governor Becky Skillman.
Kim was selected as one of 11 winners of the Fourth Annual Celebration of Hoosier Women Artists competition. The contest is conducted annually in March to coincide with National Women’s History Month.
Kim entered a photograph, “Winter Frost,” in the competition, which included 140 Hoosier artists. That same photo was honored at the Art League’s fall exhibition, and President and Mrs. White selected it as the image for their annual holiday card.
Kim and the other award winners were welcomed to the Statehouse a little over a week ago for a reception and tour, and all of the award-winning pieces were on display. Those same works will now be moved to Lt. Governor Skillman’s office, where they will be exhibited for the coming year.
On Friday, barely 24 hours after he had given one of the most memorable Chapel talks in recent history, Steve Charles, who edits Wabash Magazine, was on his way to Pittsburgh. The Wabash alumni in Western Pennsylvania selected Steve as their Man of the Year. (See pictures Mike Warren shot here.)
Steve’s in his 16th year editing our award-winning magazine. In his Chapel speech, he referred to himself as a sociophobe — someone who fears large crowds, especially speaking in front of large groups. But Steve soared as a speaker Thursday morning, and his message to students — Show Up — resonated with everyone in attendance.
While Steve wove brilliant prose throughout the 30-minute talk, I’ll sum it up this way: His advice to students was to tell the truth, pay attention, don’t anticipate the outcome, and show up. The last bit — showing up — was his main point, and he meant it in the broadest possible way. Show up for yourself, show up for your family, show up for those you care about, and show up for life.
His message is important to all of us, but especially coming from someone who has to overcome anxiety in order to show up at anything. And knowing that Steve has showed up for literally hundreds of Wabash events and thousands of Wabash people, it’s a most salient piece of advice.
Also on Friday, Brent Harris, our stalwart Sports Information Director at Wabash, packed his bags for Indianapolis and the Women’s Final Four. Just as he has done so many times over the last two decades, Brent gave of himself — volunteered his time over five days — to make sure all of the little things that almost nobody ever sees at the Final Four got done… and done well.
He escorted coaches, players, cheerleaders, and VIPs through the labyrinth of hallways of Conseco Fieldhouse. He granted strange requests, performed the oddest of duties, and he did all of those things with his usual grace, kindness, and good humor.
Finally, on Saturday, Howard Hewitt traveled to the state college journalism convention with several student journalists, photographers, and cartoonists. Hewitt manages our website content, but also spends a large amount of his time working with and advising our student journalists.
A couple of years ago, The Bachelor was named the best small college newspaper in the state by the Indiana Collegiate Press Association (ICPA). The paper has since been bumped up into a category that includes universities three or four times the size of Wabash — and all of those schools have journalism courses, faculty, and programs.
Wabash has no journalism courses or faculty; Wabash has Hewitt and a bunch of dedicated students who put in long hours week after week throughout the year. On Saturday, nine students received 22 awards at the state conference, including 10 first place awards. The Bachelor was also named the best small college newspaper in the state for the second time in three years. You can read about those students on the College’s website today.
As their supervisor, I couldn’t be more proud of the Public Affairs team, which includes Karen Handley, Kim Johnson, Howard Hewitt, Brent Harris, and Steve Charles. They spend all of their professional lives honoring and celebrating others.
It’s my pleasure to turn the spotlight on them and say “congratulations” for their individual accomplishments and what they mean to Wabash College.