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Padgett Makes Time for Student Journalists

Howard W. Hewitt – Many Wabash alumni give back in so many ways it’s hard to detail them all though we try.

Tim Padgett ’84 was Bachelor Editor during his time on campus and went on to a well-documented career as a Bureau Chief for Time Magazine. Tim has returned to campus twice in the last three years to visit, critique, and inspire students who write for the Bachelor.

Padgett during his Thursday afternoon Colloquy

He will be honored Saturday during Alumni Chapel with the Clarence A. Jackson Career Service Award for his 27 years in journalism.

But it’s the small moments he shares with students that are rewarding beyond all plaques and certificates. Tim met with Bachelor staffers Thursday and went through a detailed critique of last week’s issue of the Bachelor. He praised the progress he has seen in recent years, called out good writers for their efforts, and gently prodded others to improve portions of their writing.

He did it all with humility and grace. He also has a fun sense of humor.

Tim delivered a compelling Alumni Colloquium Thursday afternoon entitled “Hegel and Headline News: A New Media Dialectic.” The talk focused on Time Magazine’s approach not to present news with a partisan twist but to allow reporters to use their expertise in reporting to share opinions formed by fact and research.

You can watch Tim’s entire talk on the Wabash College YouTube Channel here.

A big turnout of faculty and students appreciated the refreshing explanation of how news could be presented outside the “shouting matches” of some cable news outlets.

Wabash frequently has alums return to give exciting and meaningful talks. But Tim always goes one more step and takes a few of the Bachelor staffers, and their advisor, out to dinner. It’s there he shares the personal stories of his Wabash years and fascinating and funny anecdotes from his remarkable career.

You can see Padgett’s entire talk on the Wabash College YouTube Channel. It will be posted there soon.

I never cease to be amazed at how encouraging and generous he is with our students. He always offers to write a letter of recommendation, or make a phone call for students seeking a job or considering graduate school.

During Saturday’s Alumni Chapel he will be honored for a remarkable career.

Tim Padgett is some Little Giant.

New Home for the College “Brain”

The summer of 2011 was a busy one for the Wabash College IT department. The schedule included the usual upgrade of computers across campus, installation of software upgrades for both individuals and computer labs, and prepare user accounts for one of the largest incoming freshmen classes in the College’s history. Added to the list of normal items was the development of the new college web site, which was completed in August.

However, the department had one more major project that was completed without much fanfare. The entire network server and telephone system room — the “brain” of the College’s computer services — was completely renovated in time for fall classes to begin.

View photos of the project here.

“The most pressing need was to provide a reliable base of operations to keep all of our systems functioning around the clock,” Director of IT Services Brad Weaver said during an open house and tech talk for faculty, students, and staff on Tuesday.

The renovation included the installation of an uninterrupted power supply to the servers, a new air conditioning and handling system to maintain a constant temperature for the sensitive equipment, modification of the systems to a virtual storage system across a series of blade servers. Wiring and fiber systems were re-organized, and security and safety systems were put in place to protect the systems from from possible damage from either natural disasters such as flooding, or outside attacks on the system.

With all of the other projects also needing attention, the planning for this renovation took several months.

“We developed a time line about six months before we began construction,” Weaver said. “We had a lot of help from campus services and our construction company in planning and executing this upgrade. We made the decision early on to move our existing equipment out of the room during the renovation and into another area. That let us keep things running without having to shut anything down for long periods of time throughout the summer. That helped a lot.”

While the renovation is complete, Weaver and his staff have additional plans to keep Wabash computer systems functioning in emergency situations.

“We have developed a redundant space in Hayes Hall that we use to mirror email, the web site, Moodle, and some of the other systems that we use day to day to function. We still need to look at overall IT services. We still have to address some issues of space and safety as we continue to expand with new technologies. We will need to address those items at some point in the near future.”

IMA Exhibit and Event Break New Ground

Before the opening in August of the exhibit of ancient Nigerian art she curated for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Wabash Art Professor Elizabeth Morton hoped aloud that Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria would shatter museum-goers’ preconceived notions of African art.

Thursday night she gave members of the Wabash community a guided tour through those “treasures of the spirit” and may have simultaneously shattered preconceived notions of what a Wabash College alumni event can be.

See photo albums from the event here and here.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria is the largest and most inclusive display from the ancient spiritual home of Africa’s Yoruba people ever to tour the West. Well over 100 alumni and faculty and their families, staff members, students, and parents of current students attended the reception for Morton and the exhibit, an event sponsored by the Indianapolis Association of Wabash Men and organized by Morton and IAWM Board Member Brad Johnson ’71.

“This is a unique event for us,” Johnson said during opening remarks in the museum’s Fountain Room, acknowledging that the more than 120 confirmed guests on the RSVP list was more than twice what he’d originally expected. “Your response has been amazing.”

“This is one of the largest receptions the IAWM has ever had,” IAWM President Jon Pactor ’71 said. “We celebrating not only this exhibit of African art, but all these Wabash connections.”

President Pat White agreed: “This is a wonderful event because it brings together so many different constituencies of the College to celebrate the College’ s excellence. We celebrate the extraordinary work of Dr. Elizabeth Morton, the experience, energy, scholarship and scholarship she brings to us on campus, but also her work as a public intellectual, bringing that same energy, knowledge and scholarship to the rest of the world.”

Johnson thanked the many Wabash professors and their family members for coming from Crawfordsville for the event, and President White asked for a show of hands from parents of current students.

“A few weeks ago on Freshman Saturday I told parents that when you send your son to Wabash, you won’t lose a son; you’ll gain a College,” White said. “This night is emblematic of that fact. You are part of Wabash College—thank you so much for coming.”

Professor Morton spoke of the students who worked with her preparing the exhibit, recommending the “ipod” audio-video tour viewers can carry with them and which features the voices of Michael Brown ’13, Luke Robbins ’11, Adam Phipps ’11, and Wabash Theatre Professor Jim Cherry.  She noted that recent graduates Ian Starnes ’11, Eric Brown ’11, and Drew Palmer ’11 had also worked on the project. Then she led the gathering to the gallery.

Walking through the exhibit with his youngest daughter, Abby, Dr. Bob Einterz ’77 said he was particularly grateful that the invitation included children. There were many in attendance, from toddlers to teens. And learning that Thursday was also the birthday of Professor Mark Brouwer’s daughter, Isabelle, Professor Morton surprised her with cupcake as all those in attendance sang “Happy Birthday.”

“This event is the sort of thing that’s unique to Wabash,” Professor Morton said as guests began to make their way to the exits at 9 p.m. “Where else would you find so many faculty colleagues, their kids, alumni, students, parents, all coming together to support an event like this.”

Students Celebrate Asian Culture

John Dykstra ’13 - Detchon Hall resonated with enthusiasm Thursday night embracing a wide variety of cultures. The International Students Association (ISA) hosted the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

See photo album here.

The event had a tremendous turnout despite being moved from the Mall to Detchon due to rain. ISA President Huy Ahn Le ’13 said it reflects the growth of Wabash’s Asian studies program.

“It was a great turnout tonight,” Le said. “Even though it was raining, everyone followed us here. That shows this program is very appealing to people and that Asian studies is becoming more popular.”

The ISA had to cook food beforehand due to the rain. The initial plans were to have a cookout. David Clapp, Director of Off-Campus Studies & International Students at Wabash, was pleased with the students’ effort in moving to Detchon.

“Overall, it was great because the students really worked hard in the preparation, which made it possible when we moved from outside in the rain and into here so well,” Clapp said. “Everyone pitched in. It was really quite something. I have never seen students work together so well like that. These are guys from ten different countries. This shows that it can happen.”

The ISA used the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival not only to celebrate Chinese culture, but a wide variety of Asian cultures.

“This year the performances are more diverse,” Le said. “Last year, we did not have an Asian studies program. Another thing is that we have a bigger population of American students in our Chinese language studies courses. So, it is more diverse. More participation and ideas are coming from things like that.”

Associate Dean of Students Will Oprisko thought the festival was a great communally unifying event.

“From my perspective it is a great example of men and students and faculty and staff from different backgrounds and perspectives coming together to celebrate something that is important to a few,” Oprisko said. “And that celebration actually makes it important to all of us.”

Last week, members of the ISA were invited and attended DePauw’s celebration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. So, Wabash’s ISA invited DePauw to attend last night’s celebration. DePauw sent buses of students over.

Loutfi Jirari, Director of International Services at DePauw, thought the two events will lead to more future collaborations between DePauw and Wabash’s ISAs.

“I think this is a very great event,” Jirari said. “We were very happy to get an invitation to come here and I really think there are many things that we can do together between DePauw and Wabash. I mean our universities are really close and both universities have a good history. I feel we are privileged and lucky to have a good international population on both of our campuses. So, I feel there is a lot we can do together, a lot of joint events.”

DePauw student Sally Qiu ’14 noted some differences in how Wabash’s ISA celebrated the event.

“Here, they have people from Vietnam, Thailand, and China – they all celebrate this festival together. And also there are Americans, who might not know a lot about the traditions back in China. So, it is a very good opportunity to communicate with people from different cultures.”

Wabash students participated in a wide variety of events that entertained the crowd. Professor Ssu-Yu Chou and Qian Zu Pullen’s students sang the song “Two Tigers” together. Sam Smith ’12 was one of the students performing.

“This [performance] kind of got us out of our comfort zone, especially singing in front of people in Chinese,” Smith said. “This is great for letting everyone know that we do have an Asian studies program now; and it’s a great event for everybody to come out and learn about Chinese.”

Pullen was fascinated by the event’s turnout and thought it would have a profound cultural effect.

“I think a lot of host families came tonight and I think this performance and this event is going to convince many that Asians are not a minority anymore,” Pullen said. “We are building this Asian studies program not only for Asian students, but to include the whole community.”

Clapp said the event helps build student enthusiasm. “It is not just a class; we are having fun; we’re learning about what people actually do, how they live, the food they eat, the tea they drink and so on,” he said. “So, it brings the culture of all these people who are with American students studying – it brings it alive and lets you see that it is not just something in books or a movie. It’s real. You’ve lived a little piece of that now.”

 

GOProud Leader to Speak Wednesday

Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud, will talk about gay conservatism at 8 p.m. Wednesday night in Baxter 101.

LaSalvia leads GOProud an organization that says it “represents gay conservatives and their allies. GOProud is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy. GOProud promotes our traditional conservative agenda by influencing politics and policy at the federal level.

Jimmy was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a graduate of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. He has previously worked in politics and the Log Cabin Republicans.

The talk is co-sponsored by Wabash Conservative Union and ‘shOUT.

Language Students Visit Chinatown

Quian Pullen talks about Chinese culture with her students.

John Dykstra ’13 – Wabash students taking Mandarin and Chinese history classes had an engaging experience Sunday with Chinese culture. Professors Ssu-Yu Chou and Qian Zu Pullen led 31 students to Chinatown in Chicago.

The essence of the trip was for students to develop a better understanding of what “oriental” entails.  Students were introduced to Chinese breakfast and dinner customs at traditional Chinese restaurants; visited The Oriental Institute; and had the opportunity to free roam and shop in Chinatown.

“Professor Chou and I have been planning this trip since the beginning of the semester,” Pullen said. “The purpose of this trip was for [students] to learn that oriental refers to more than China. ‘Oriental’ covers parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.”

At The Oriental Institute, students viewed the Assyrian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Megiddo, Nubian, Persian, and Syro-Anatolian exhibits. Pursuing a degree in Asian Studies, Aaron Morton-Wilsonv’14 found more historical and cultural subjects to analyze through the museum.

“The trip is very interesting for me because it puts together a lot of things I have studied at Wabash, across multiple departments,” Morton-Wilson said. “Looking at The Oriental Institute, I got to learn about some of the ancient near-East history and I found that there is a connection between that history and the Chinese history that I can pursue as soon as I can.”

Students were fascinated by Chinese eating customs and cuisine. They particularly liked the breakfast custom of dipping a Chinese donut into warm soy milk and how there were several dishes on the table to choose from. The restaurants used a spinning plate in the center to help students serve themselves.

“The soy milk was divine,” Josh Manker ’14 said. “I have never had a fully immersed Chinese breakfast before.”

Vietnam native Hoan Nguyen noticed differences between Chinese and Vietnamese foods and eating customs.

Eating in true Chinese restaurants was part of the day's experience.

“Chinese food and Vietnamese foods are different,” Nguyen said. “We eat different ways. For instance, for the fried donuts we had, [the Vietnamese] would dip them into soup rather than soy milk.”

Accustomed to American eating traditions, Lorenze Billups ’15 was captivated by how several Chinese dishes were shared using a spinning plate.

“I got to learn a lot about the Chinese culture,” Billups said. “The experience is the most intriguing part about it. You learn how things are done in Chinese culture, especially the sharing of the food. I thought that was most interesting. I am used to everyone having their own, separate plate; whereas, [in China] they bring out the dishes and everyone shares the dishes together.”

Pullen’s underlying lesson to students revolved around analyzing cultural differences.

“I wanted students to start to think about how to understand cultural differences,” she said. “We need to be sensitive to cultural differences to be respectful of various cultures since we all have some form of culture in common. That is one thing even I learned from this trip – that we all have similar cultural backgrounds.”

Miller ’12 to Attend Eco Conference

Wabash senior Adam Miller ’12 has been awarded a grant to attend the Oct. 4-6 SXSW Eco Conference in Austin, Texas. Miller earned the grant with his idea of creating a non-profit business to impact children throughout the world.

“Last summer I was awarded the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF) and interned in Greece with the support of Dr. John Fisher,” Miller said. “During my morning walk to work, I routinely passed children playing soccer at an elementary school. Their soccer ball was a pine cone. The experience sparked my interest in developing a sustainable business model which would provide underprivileged children with basic sports equipment.

“While working this summer at Paul Newman’s Camp Boggy Creek in Florida I envisioned a unique non-profit business model with the potential to impact many children throughout the world. On September 13, I applied for a grant to attend the inaugural edition of SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas. During Dr. Freeze’s Creative Writing class I received an email congratulating me on being selected to receive an $800 grant to attend the conference.”

SXSW Eco is a three-day conference acknowledging the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving recognized sustainability/environmental challenges.

SXSW Eco will provide unique networking opportunities and cutting-edge discussion with experienced, passionate, and pragmatic professionals with varied backgrounds from the public, private and academic sectors.

Just as the SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences & Festivals are an acknowledged annual launching pad for new creative content, SXSW Eco provides a singular atmosphere for fresh approaches to the most pressing challenges of our time.

Lake Gives Lecture in Gambia

Associate Professor of English Tim Lake is making the most of his sabbatical leave. He’s just back from giving an invited lecture at the University of The Gambia (UTG) in Africa.

“I received the formal invitation from the Vice Chancellor of UTG to deliver an African American History and Culture Seminar,” Lake said. “I also gave two talks at the United States Embassy there on Black culture and recent Black immigrants to the US.”

Lake first met faculty and students at the University of The Gambia in 2009 while on a Fulbright-Hays Group Abroad trip to Senegal and The Gambia. While there he researched the transatlantic slave trade and visited the important sites of Goree Island (Senegal), James Island, and Juffure (Gambia).

“It was an honor of the highest magnitude to be invited back to deliver an African American History and Culture Seminar at the UTG,” Lake said.

His US Embassy talks focused on the “Global Influence of African American Culture” and the impact of recent African and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the US.

“This was an exciting opportunity to connect with an international learning community,” he added.

While in The Gambia, Lake met Wabash alumnus Gabriel Ndow (in photo), who is a lecturer in the physics department at UTG. Ndow is a former vice chairman of Wabash’s Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies, which Lake formerly directed.

 

 

 

Autism Expert Speaks Tuesday

Join Dr. Stephen Shore in his autobiographical journey from the nonverbal days as he relates his life to the many challenges facing people on the autism spectrum.

Shore’s talk, “Life on and Slightly to the Right of the Autism Spectrum: An Inside View Towards Success,” will be presented at 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 6 in Salter Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center.

Some of the areas discussed include classroom accommodation, teaching of musical instruments, as well as issues faced by adults such as relationships, self-advocacy, higher education, and employment.

The session ends with a short audience activity demonstrating what it feels like have autism and to struggle through some of the challenges surrounding communication and socialization.

Dr. Shore is Professor of Special Education at Adelphi University. Diagnosed with “Atypical Development with strong autistic tendencies,” Dr. Shore was viewed as “too sick” to be treated on an outpatient basis and recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much help from his parents, teachers, and others, Stephen completed his doctoral dissertation at Boston University focused on matching best practice to the needs of people on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Shore will also present a talk entitled “The Current State of Autism and Advocacy Issues” on Wednesday, September 7 at 4:15 in Baxter 101.

Indianapolis Artist Opens Season at Art Gallery

Artist Matthew Davey will present “Shadow and Light” in the Eric Dean Gallery with an opening reception tonight. The reception runs 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m..

“Davey’s exhibition includes drawings, paintings, and sculptures,” the art department wrote in promoting the year’s first show. “Davey’s powerful figurative works, though classically inspired, are provocative and provide many psychological layers for the viewer to consider. They encourage honest explorations of the human soul, and of our relationships inward and outward.”

See some of Davey’s work here.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday. The exhibit runs through Oct. 7