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Author/Chef Michael Ruhlman to Visit Oct. 16

Howard W. Hewitt – Known as one of the country’s most celebrated food authors, buddy to Anthony Bourdain, and a familiar face for his frequent television appearances, Michael Ruhlman will visit Wabash College Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Ruhlman has appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Next Iron Chef as a judge as well as frequent appearances on Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel television shows.

But he’s best known as an author and chef, having written 12 books. He’s known for books with or about chefs, including Michael Symon of the Food Network, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, Eric Ripert of Bernadin, and more.

The Cleveland native is a graduate of Duke University and the Culinary Institute of America. He will bring a unique perspective to Wabash based in part from his education at University School in Cleveland, a private boys’ day school. His first book was based on his all-male education, Boys Themselves.

Final details of his visit are being arranged but he will speak on campus at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 about his career and the rise of chefs to celebrity status. He is expected to give a noon-time talk early in the day which will be more cooking specific, probably an open question and answer session.

Most recently he has released Salumi, a book on dry Italian curing, and Twenty, a book of “twenty essential ideas from ingredients to processes to attitude that are guaranteed to make every cook more accomplished.”

His other titles include: The Making of a Chef, The French Laundry Cookbook, Soul of a Chef, Bouchon, Charcuterie, House: A Memoir, The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen, Element of Cooking, Ratio, and  Live to Cook with Michael Symon.

Ruhlman’s appearance is being sponsored by the Visiting Lecture Series.

Ruhlman has an even stronger connection to Wabash than his all-male secondary schooling background. In the Fall 2002 issue of Wabash Magazine he penned an essay “Gathering Home.” That essay later inspired his memoir, House.

Radtke ’74: ‘Inner Strength and Clarity of Will’

Professor Richard Radtke ’74,
July 9, 1952-August 7, 2212

Steve Charles—When I received an email today notifying us that University of Hawaii Professor Emeritus Richard Radtke ’74 had died at age 60 on August 7, I thought immediately of the extraordinary essay he wrote for us in 2001.

His “Making Ice Cubes from Glaciers” was one of the first and few pieces we published as a feature we called Turning Point. I suspect one reason we never received many more submissions for that feature was because Richard’s was so powerful. He set a standard few could meet: Not only had he surmounted tremendous obstacles after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 26 before going on to become the first handicapped scientist to do research in Antarctica, but he was so deeply honest about it all.

One example from the essay:

“I’m not one of these people who is terminally euphoric. I don’t have a constant production of endorphins that leave me in a state of eternal bliss. At the end of the week I’m totally exhausted and ready to quit. I’m tired of the constant haranguing of administrators and constant roadblocks thrown in my way because I have a disability—the thinly veiled assumptions that I should be in a nursing home quietly resting while the rest of the world goes by. I don’t always wear a smile on my face.

“There are many mornings when I don’t want my attendant to pull me from my bed to feed me my breakfast, but it’s still a choice. I really believe that I have choices. That’s the one thing I do believe in.

Radtke was an oceanographer and adventurer who would not be stopped.

“When I’m tired (MS leaves you exhausted), I keep working, because if I stopped every time I was tired, I wouldn’t get anything done. Still, at the end of a week, all things considered, I like my life. I’m doing what I want to do, where I want to do it, with the people that I want to do it with. I work outdoors and in inaccessible places, and I have fun.

“It’s been three decades since I last sacked a quarterback at Wabash, but the inner strength and clarity of will and purpose I felt as a player are still mine, even more so. Perhaps they are the uncommon gifts of my physical disability.”

This from a professor and scientist who was awarded a U. S. Presidential Commendation, was the recipient of his university’s highest honor for community service, and was invited to the White House, where he received national recognition as an outstanding mentor for youth.

I encourage you to read the complete essay here. It was written by a man whose life exemplified “Wabash always fights” in ways most of us cannot imagine.

Made in the Shade

Freshmen arriving and upperclassmen returning to campus will find a new “serendipitous” space for gathering, relaxing, and even holding class outdoors.

A shaded seating area has replaced the chest-high hedges that once stood between Center and Baxter Halls, all part of the new Center Hall landscaping designed by Grounds Manager Tim Riley in an effort led by Director of Campus Services David Morgan.

“The exterior landscapes are one of the most outstanding features of the College, yet there are currently only a handful of exterior seating areas scattered around campus,” Morgan said. “As I approached the design of the new Center Hall landscape I wanted to include a space for people to come together informally.”

Campus Services workers Taylor Hedrick and Theron McIntire finish raking the new gathering area outside Center Hall.

“The new small seating area on the south side of Center Hall was relatively low-cost, and included a new type of bench made of recycled materials.”

Morgan said the plants used throughout the new landscaping are more drought-tolerant and require less maintenance than the previous landscaping, yet have “a good visual impact.”

“We are looking for future locations for similar exterior seating areas around campus.”

Luckey ’82 Loves Challenges at Lindsey Wilson

Howard W. Hewitt – Columbia, Ky. – Bill Luckey ’82 is the first to admit no one wants to hear about where you come from or how someone else operates when you’re in a top leadership position.

But the President of Lindsey Wilson College will admit his Wabash experience has profoundly influenced his leadership of the small private liberal arts college in rural Central Kentucky.

Luckey’s first job was at Lindsey Wilson. He became President at the age of 38 and today, at 51, leads a campus that has doubled enrollment, significantly increased faculty size and annual giving.

Lindsey Wilson was a two-year college when Luckey arrived in one of the poorest educated areas in the nation. The College’s graduation rate of just over 30 percent might seem shocking. But when its considered the rate was in single digits not many years ago, the turn around has been nothing short of remarkable.

Lindsey Wilson is a very different place than Wabash. The school takes students who may not have sterling academic credentials but through its liberal arts education creates leaders, teachers, and lawyers who are showing a loyalty not unlike former Little Giants.`

During a walking tour of campus Tuesday he shared how many of Wabash’s great professors of the 1980s influenced his life. He walked us through building after building constructed during his tenure. The school’s annual giving has gone from $1 million to more than $6 million annually. When faced with a key capital campaign President Lucky was told by professionals the College would raise less than $20 million. They went out and raised $56 million.

On a simpler level, a walk around campus encountered administrators, a few students and staff it was clear he’s a respected and loved leader.

Media Center Director Adam Bowen and I visited Luckey for a video profile which will be on the website this fall.

Student Listeners Celebrate Alumni

Ian Grant talks with Thomas Burns ’67 after the former History Channel contributor told his Wabash stories for the Scarlet Yarns project.

Ian Grant ’13—During the Scarlet Yarns recording sessions at this year’s Big Bash it was not uncommon for four or five of us—including Josh Mitchell ’13 (taping), Jimmy Kervan ’13, Ian MacDougall ’12, James Blaich ’14 (interviewing), and Steve Charles and myself (photographing) to all be listening to the same alumnus’s stories.

We gathered because we were intrigued. Cross-country hitchhikes with convicts and riding a horse while dressed as Lady Godiva for Homecoming are not commonly told tales.

During one of these sessions I was poised to snap a picture of an alumnus when he turned to me in surprise and said, “I feel like a celebrity.”

If a celebrity is a celebrated person, I suppose he was right.

Here are some of my favorite “celebrity” stories, a couple outrageous, another sort of amazing in its own right.

The first was told to me by Tom Reams ’62:

When I was here we had a tradition of streaking to Dean [Ben] Rogge’s house. Once there you had to ring the bell and wait for someone to answer the door. You always hoped it wouldn’t be Mrs. Rogge. I had a friend who decided that he wanted to do this.  So he stripped down, ran across campus, across town, and onto the Dean’s porch where, after hesitantly ringing the bell, Dean Rogge answered the door.  Naturally, after ringing the bell, he ran like hell, but it wasn’t enough to quite get away.  Mrs. Rogge asked the Dean who was at the door and all the Dean said was, “I’m not entirely certain, but I think I recognize his ass.”

This from Fred Obenchain ’62:

Fred Obenchain ’62 recalls his Homecoming queen experience for interviewer Ian Grant during this year's Scarlet Yarns video project.

In the very first Homecoming queen contest that we had, my fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, was talking about assigning the task of Homecoming queen candidate to a freshman pledge and I stupidly spoke up in chapter and said I didn’t think it was a good idea to force a pledge to do that.  So the chapter unanimously decided that I got to be the candidate for Homecoming queen. I was Lady Godiva and I rode a white horse. My only regret in all that is that I only got second place. So that was a tremendous disappointment to me.

Finally, Dennis Harrell ’67 tried to hitchhike to Washington, D.C. over spring break but was dropped off, and subsequently stranded, in Washington, Pennsylvania:

We went out and hitched a ride again and we were dumped off at the entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  So you have to remember this is a Sunday morning, over spring break, two guys from Wabash not wearing Wabash clothing and thumbing a ride on the entrance to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  A car comes along and stops and picks us up.  It happened to be [Professor] Jack Charles. He recognized us. Just two guys standing along the road in Pennsylvania on a Sunday morning, yet he knew who we were. I had taken only one class from him.

Ian Grant is an intern this summer with Wabash Magazine and the College’s Office of Communications and Marketing. 

See more of this year’s Scarlet Yarns here.

Johnson’s Photos “Click” in New Exhibit

Photographer and Wabash Communications and Marketing Specialist Kim Johnson

Steve Charles—Kim Johnson has become our go-to photographer for Wabash Magazine. The “How It’s Made” edition currently in production simply wouldn’t have been possible without her, and Kim’s images of everything from computer chips to Alaskan glaciers to ravioli-making to theater set building to fine portraits have been in front of me for the past two weeks.

And in 2011, one of Kim’s award-winning photographs hung in the Indiana Statehouse as she was among 11 honored in the Hoosier Women Artists competition. I’m fortunate to have a copy of that amazing shot, “Winter Frost,” myself.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised by the originality and excellence of the more than 100 images in her recently opened exhibit in the Mary Bishop Memorial Gallery at the Crawfordsville Public Library. But seeing all her work gathered—even after having had the privilege of publishing much of her photography, which seems to get more thoughtful and skillful with every shoot—I was taken aback by the way Kim sees the world. We glimpse just a slice of that worldview in the work she does as our communications and marketing specialist at Wabash.

“Every moment we continue to move and breathe and love and live is a miracle,” Kim says in an article on the library’s Web site. And that’s what she’s captured in these images, which seem small miracles in themselves. It’s a show that leaves you feeling refreshed, reintroduces you to the mystery of life, and may even change a bit the way you look at the world.

 The Moment It Clicks: Photography of Kim Johnson runs through August 29 at the Crawfordsville Public Library during its regular hours and is free and open to the public.

Miller ’12 Pursues Passion In Cross Country Ride

Howard W. Hewitt  – Adam Miller ’12 is pursuing his passion and hopes to inspire and convince others to do the same.

Miller climbed on his bike the morning of Aug. 1 in San Francisco planning to take approximately 60 days to pedal across the USA to New York City. Along the way he will stop at college campuses and elsewhere challenging people to pursue what interests them.

One of the publicity shots Miller will use during the ride.

Miller’s interests were stirred by his Wabash College experience. The two-year football athlete from Goshen, Ind, worked in Career Services most of his four years. During a summer College-funded internship in Greece, he noted kids who would play but had no ball for their sports. And by the way, that internship was partially arranged by Professor Emeritus of Classics John Fischer H70.

The following summer he worked at a summer camp in Florida where he interacted with children from economically-challenged areas. It was at that time he developed his idea for “Let’s Have a Ball” – a charity to provide sports equipment to children with needs.

II had a couple job interviews and pulled my name out of consideration bascially,” Miller said about his time after May graduation. “I said to myself if I’m really going to do this charity I have to do it wholeheartedly. Some of money raised may set up grants for anyone to pursue their passion.”

That is the second purpose behind his ride to raise money for “Let’s Have a Ball.” Go to his website PedalAdamPedal for more information and to support his efforts. Miller learned the value of social media while at Wabash and is using Twitter in a unique way to help raise money.

He spent time before the start of the ride learning about cross country cycling. He won’t be alone for the adventure. Derek Yoder ’11 will be driving along providing support, looking out for Adam’s safety on the bike, assisting with social media, and providing company.

Adam hopes to ride about 70 miles a day his fund raising goal is even bigger at $100,000. When he stops at college campuses and elsewhere, he’s going to do short video interviews he’ll post on his website and Twitter account.

” ‘Regardless of money, how would you pursue y0ur passion?’ ” I’ve seen classmates take jobs to pay the bills even though it’s not their passion – it’s just to pay bills.”