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Two Different Experiences; Countless Lessons Learned

Samuel Vaught ´16 — Greetings from Ecuador!

For eleven Glee Club members, we have now been away from the United States for a month. Our first two weeks were spent studying Spanish and traditional Ecuadorian music at la Pontifícia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, known to locals simply as La Católica. We lived with host families, ate home-cooked meals, and attended class every day. Dr. Rogers of the Spanish department and Dr. Bowen were our only ties
to home as we were completely immersed in a new language, new culture, and new way of life. Living with my host family was one of the greatest learning experiences of the first half of the trip.

Going into the stay, I was most concerned about the language – being able to communicate well. I was nervous that my previous experience with the Spanish language would not be sufficient, as I wanted to be gracious and make a good impression with my family. What I found, however, was that communication was not the most difficult part of the home stay. In fact, I improved quickly and my Spanish skills have never been better. What I found most difficult was the genuine cross-cultural exchange that took place during the two weeks. Whether it was new perspectives on global politics, or the new city, or the simple things that come with daily life in a new environment, I was constantly challenged to get out of my comfort zone. I had to learn what it means to be the outsider, the alien. I was no longer in comfortable Crawfordsville, Indiana, my home for twenty years. I was in Quito, Ecuador, with Ximena Romo and Gustavo Moscoso. I think that this experience has been an invaluable lesson in the age of global migration. When you know what it feels like to be the outsider, you start thinking about the outsiders in your own home differently.

Sam Vaught '16 (center) is one of 11 Glee Club members who has been in Ecuador for the last month.

Samuel Vaught ’16 (center) is one of 11 Glee Club members who have been in Ecuador for the last month.

If we were aliens for the first two weeks, we have played the tourist for the last two. We were joined on the last day of May by sixteen additional Glee Club members as we transitioned into the second half of the trip: a two-week concert tour of the country. Led by Dr. and Mrs. Bowen, our accompanist Cheryl Everett, and Dr. Hardy and her ever-knowledgeable son Ben (I never want to go to another airport without him), we have had an exciting two weeks of discovery and cultural exchange. Traveling to the north and the south, seeing different parts of the country, and interacting with the diversity of people in La Sierra (one of Ecuador’s four geographic regions), I have had an entirely different experience. This has been a new trip: one of school concerts, cathedral concerts, and small-town concerts. One of exploring outdoor markets and buying artisanal goods. One of spending a night in the indigenous village of San Clemente and learning their way of life. Surrounded by more estadounidenses, my Spanish has certainly  atrophied. But this trip hasn’t been a let-down after the first two weeks. It has simply been different.

Tomorrow, I will board a plane to come home again to Indiana, grateful for not one immersion trip, but two. Two different experiences, and countless lessons within each one.

Adios, mi lindo Ecuador. No te olvidaré.

13 junio 2014
Quito, Ecuador

Me llamo Benjamin

Benjamin Washer ‘17 — To be able to write about one thing that happened on our trip to Ecuador is close to impossible.  There are so many things that have stood out to me on this trip.  I’m sure many other people in this situation would write about the delicious and exotic food, or the fantastic views that were presented before their eyes, or the incredible fiesta thrown by the denizens of San Clemente and the generosity and friendliness exhibited by their host families.

It is true that these experiences were all wonderful and worthy of writing about, but I wish to tell a different story.  During our stay in San Clemente I found that my host family consisted of Señora Rosita, her husband, their fifteen-year-old son and their nine-year-old daughter Kalina (which I did not know at the time).

Benjamin Washer '17

Benjamin Washer ’17

My host family was very generous and friendly and treated us as their own.  That is, everyone except Kalina.  She almost never smiled and almost never spoke (but when she did it was in the tiniest voice ever; if you didn’t strain your ear you would’ve have missed what she said).  Based on the pictures that hung about the house, I could tell she was not the smiling type.

Despite my best efforts at child friendly goofiness, I could not get her to smile (and barely even to speak).  Most of the evening remained this way.  After dinner she quietly led us to the village center hall for our evening fiesta and even politely gestured for me to dance though she maintained her introverted nature.

After the fiesta, our group headed back to the house.  On the way back, I noticed that little Kalina had fallen back a short ways as the others moved ahead, so I stayed back with her.  In the quietness of the evening. I asked her in my limited Spanish:
“Como estas? ”
She replied in a very small voice:
“Bien.”
I then introduced myself:
“Me llamo Benjamin.”
“Kalina.”

We continued walking.  I noticed that for the past few minutes little Kalina had her arms folded close to her body and so I asked her:
“Tu frio?”
“Si.”

At that moment I took my sweatshirt (which I was not using because my host family gave me a very warm poncho to wear) and placed it around her shoulders.  At first she gave no response, but I made a gesture indicating that she put her arms through the sleeves.  It was then that she covered herself with my sweatshirt and cracked the first smile I had ever seen from her.  We then walked the rest of the way back to the house in silence.

When we got back she handed me my sweatshirt, thanked me and then went to bed.  The next morning she said goodbye to me as she went off to school and that was the last I ever saw of her.
It’s funny how we get attached to certain people.  We were told that we were adopted by our host families, but I adopted Kalina as my new little sister.  To be able to keep her warm as the family did me and to be able to make her smile gave me great joy.  Even though I will probably never see her again just having had the chance to meet her was more than enough for me and gave me something worth writing about.

The Pulse: Memories of Commencement

For this edition of The Pulse, a group of alumni were contacted to talk about commencement and the memories elicited.

Below are three of the best responses with each mentioning touchstones like how quickly time passes, the sense of accomplishment, and being rung out. Not surprisingly, each Wabash Man also recalled that the weather figured prominently in those remembrances.

Art Howe ‘82
“I remember the smell of the freshly mown grass, how good the Mall looked, how colorful were many of the capes and cowls our professors wore in the processional, how warm it was to be wearing black robes in 80-degree heat, and how important it was to have my family present for such a big day. But what first comes to my mind is being rung out.”

“Wabash has many traditions but being rung in as a class and being rung out as a class with the bell that Prof. Caleb Mills used to ring in the first classes of Wabash men is perhaps my favorite tradition.”

We celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2014 this weekend.

We celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2014 this weekend.

Jim Dyer ‘83
“The first thing that comes to mind is the phrase in our Alma Mater, “these fleeting years we tarried here.” I have attended four commencements at Wabash – mine, my two brothers’ (one older and one younger), and my son’s. At each ceremony I always thought about how fast the four years went by – fleeting years, indeed. The other thing that comes to mind is rain. All three of my brothers’ commencement ceremonies were held in Chadwick Court due to rain. My son’s commencement last spring was the first outdoor commencement I have attended, and it was wonderful.”

“There is so much that goes on that weekend that things tend to be a blur. The only thing that stands out for me was singing Old Wabash for the last time at my son’s commencement, and, to quote the song, “tears will rise.” Both my wife and I were in tears as we realized that another milestone in our lives had just occurred.”

David Wagner ‘05
“I remember just hanging out with my family afterwards and thinking it’s over, but there is still a lot to come. I was happy with my accomplishment, but I wanted to do more. Celebrating the time with those who mean the most to me and relishing the moment was special.”

“I remember walking across the stage. It was here on the Mall, so it was a bright, sunny day. Walking across and having the diploma in my hand. I was excited, but sad that I was going to depart everything that happened here in those four years. So many friendships, so many bonds were molded here. It was bittersweet.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

Forever more as in days of yore Their deeds be noble and grand.
Then once again ye Wabash men, Three cheers for Alma Mater.

A Modern Day Clark Kent

Even after leaving four years ago for Dallas, Emmanuel Aouad ’10, still has a Wabash schedule.

The business process engineer at State Farm with the Six Sigma Green Belt applies engineering principles to people and assigned tasks, better known as econometrics. He does time studies, observations, process mapping, and times the steps to be certain that tasks are completed as smoothly as possible.

Additionally, the former indoor and outdoor track and field All-American is also a nationally certified track coach in the greater Dallas Area. For the last two seasons, Aouad has been the hurdles coach for the Irving, Texas, Elite Summer Track team.

Aouad_crop

Emmanuel Aouad ’10 is a man of many talents.

When all is said and done, Aouad, 26, is an efficiency coach. Whether it be process engineering or track and field, the simple goal is to finish fast.

“I maximize my time,” he said. “I think proactively about filling my time and finding fulfilling things to do.”

Mix in a growing career as a nerdcore rapper with the stage name 1-Up, and most all of his time is, indeed, occupied. Nerdcore rap features topics like video gaming, Sci-Fi, bad pick-up lines and even subjects like economics and physics. He self-produces his tracks and shoots and edits his own videos. What goes out is all Aouad.

It’s a nice fusion for the Wally who minored in music and played in the Wabash jazz band. Things are going so well that Aouad has released a few CDs and routinely plays three or four live gigs per month.

Here is a sample verse from a recent song entitled, “Intellirap:”

     When they ask me how I’m doing man I tell them that I’m doing “fine”
     and I always use an adverb there you know… unless it has to rhyme
     Some of these lines will leave your head acrobatic
     I’ll calculate the time it takes to fall… Kinematics 

“This is exactly me, hip-hop and jazz with a nerdy twist,” Aouad said. “I’ll do video game raps or jazz covers of songs. Whatever comes to mind.

“It’s too thoughtful or too intelligent,” he continued. “This is a very obscure genre. I have a little bit of a following, and I never expected that.”

I caught up with Aouad in Dallas on a Sunday morning in early April hours after a Saturday night performance. He took the stage in front of about 35 people the previous night, but the numbers don’t matter. He was there to have a good time and connect with the audience.

“If you get up on stage because you love it and have a good time every show, then you are successful. I try to make it enjoyable for everyone. I love it when I see people laughing or picking up my really obscure references.”

Aouad’s music provides an outlet from the simple stresses of the work day, but also a doorway for an alter ego to emerge.

“It’s my escape from stress at work, and I want it to remain fun,” said Aouad. “Music lets me come out of that corporate shell. Sometimes you have to keep it professional, but music lets the other Emmanuel out.”

Aouad is a modern day Clark Kent right down to the attire. His co-workers might mention a 1-Up video they discovered on the internet, while fellow musicians wonder why he doesn’t do music full time, and his tracksters often wonder about his “church clothes” when he shows up for practice still wearing a suit and tie.

“I now realize that high schoolers have no concept of age,” Aouad laughed loudly and shook his head. “They all think I’m 35. I have to remind them that these are my work clothes.”

This Wabash Man is comfortable no matter what uniform he happens to be wearing.

Click here for a 1-Up video

The Pulse: Job/Internship Searches

Richard Paige — With the calendar turning to April, the mental focus also turns toward what to do this summer. So this edition of The Pulse focuses on the search for jobs and internships.

Wabash men were asked about preparing for future careers this summer and the strategies used when searching for such positions. True to form, respondents proved to be proactive regarding the job search.

Half of the respondents claimed to already have an internship in their area of interest. One-third were still actively looking for internships, while less than 20 percent were seeking full-time employment. Not surprisingly, no one claimed a desire to barely pay the bills and load up on fun this summer.

Employment possibilities can come from the simplest of conversations.

Wabash connections definitely play a role in search strategies, as 43 percent of respondents said that those connections were the primary component of the search, followed by family connections, classified ads in desired locations, and a single vote for Craig’s List.

“It’s a real benefit with how our alumni try to get students placements in real life, and good ones at that,” said Ivan Koutsopatiry ’16.

The Schroeder Center for Career Development offers Professional Immersion Experiences (PIE) to students as a way to “test drive” a career. These week-long immersions give Wabash men a chance to get on-site, network and gain real-world experience quickly.

I’m certain the Schroeder Career Services Center will appreciate the fact that PIE easily outdistanced the dessert and mathematical constant when speaking of favorites.

Finally, when asked for the best piece of advice received from a current or former employer, Zach Vega ’14 submitted, “Always wear a watch. A man unaware of time wastes it.”

The Pulse: Spring Break

Richard Paige — With the clock rapidly ticking down to the start of Spring Break, I wanted to take a look at what plans were afoot for that week away from Wabash. With snow still scattered about, it might be shortsighted to believe that every available Wabash man might make a beeline for the nearest tropical beach.

Only one respondent to The Pulse, Alex Hirsch ’14, was planning to head someplace warn for his Spring Break. The responses ran the gamut from staying here to get ahead on school work to job searches to community service trips.

Just how many Wabash men can you squeeze into a car? Two-thirds of the respondents said they were road tripping with fellow students to their desired destinations, while significantly fewer were traveling by plane. One was being dropped off at a relative’s home in Carmel.

True to our serious nature, nearly 85 percent of respondents mentioned a job/internship search when asked to finish the sentence “Spring Break is a time for…” Relaxing finished second, catching up on school work third, while community service finished just ahead of spending time with family.

Perhaps you’ll find a creek worth paddling over Spring Break.

Ian MacDougall ’14 had an interesting twist to the grad school dilemma, as he is also prepping for a late summer wedding, saying, Spring Break should be for vacation, but it is all about selecting a school and a wedding cake.”

Zach Vega ’14 used The Pulse as a time for Spring Break reflection, comparing this year’s break where he will travel to Indianapolis to participate in medical molecular and genetic translational research to the one he enjoyed as a freshman, relaxing at home in Munster, Ind.

“I see no difference between that first Spring Break and the one I now have,” he said. “I will be working with a fraternity brother, so I will still be around friends. Much like three years ago, I will be doing what interests me; it’s just that my interests have developed over the course of four years. I believe it would be foolish to attribute all that has happened over the past four years solely to Wabash College alone, but I also believe it would be foolish to not acknowledge such an institution that offers opportunity for the brave 900 who decide to attend.”

A Good Time for a Road Trip

Richard Paige — Teachers always say they’ll go to the ends of the earth for their students. Oscar Santos did just that for one of his.

Santos, a 10th-grade geometry teacher, volunteered to drive Jonathan Alcala the roughly 1,200 miles from Pharr, Texas, to the Wabash campus to make sure that Alcala could attend today’s Top 10 Visit Day.

Alcala wasn’t sure he’d be able to make the trip due to some issues with his visa, but those cleared up Friday afternoon, a little too late to purchase a plane ticket, so Santos stepped up.

“It was kind of a last minute thing,” said Santos. “He found out Friday afternoon that he could make it, so he needed someone to drive him. I said ‘sure, I’ll do it.’ I knew it was important to him.”

Oscar Santos covered 1,200 miles in 22 hours to deliver a student to Top 10 Visit Day.

Santos, a first-year teacher and former social worker, is the coach of the math club of which Alcala is a member, and he freely admits that he didn’t know Alcala all that well. That changed dramatically over the previous 22 hours.

“I got to know him really well on this trip,” Santos laughed. “He’s a great kid.”

They pulled out of the Rio Grande Valley at 9:30 p.m. CST and arrived in Crawfordsville just after 8 p.m. Sunday. Aside from the two speeding tickets he received in Texas – “I was worried about getting him here on time,” he said – there were a number of stops including a few cat naps along the way.

It was the first trip to Indiana for both driver and passenger.

All in all, it’s been a memorable experience.  “I never imagined I’d have that kind of road trip where you do the whole trip in one day,” Santos explained. I didn’t think I could do it, but it was a good experience.”

Like any high school senior making his college choice, Alcala had his own share of questions and reservations during the trip north. Santos did his best to allay those fears.

“We live in a very small town in the Rio Grande Valley,” he explained. “It’s a different culture. I warned him about some of the things he might see and emphasized not to get frightened by the snow or the cultural differences.

“I don’t know quite how he feels about campus and things because I haven’t talked to him yet,” Santos said after the alumni panels, “but I loved the presentations this morning.”

Wabash Pulse: Winter Olympics

Richard Paige — Just because the Winter Olympics are a half a world away in Sochi doesn’t mean that the glow of the Olympic flame can’t be felt here on our campus.

Most of the North American viewing audience may have to brush up on the differences between skeleton and luge, pairs and dance, and the confluence that gives us the Nordic combined. Bonus points will also be awarded for knowing the difference between classic and free technique.

I took a very brief Wabash pulse on these Games to see what interests these Little Giants about the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

Location matters in the Olympics, as nothing casts a longer shadow as the vibe displayed by a host city. Looking back at the host cities in the last 20 years, the most mentioned hosts were Vancouver (2010) and Lillehammer (1994).

It’s interesting to see the weight that Lillehammer’s well-earned reputation for delivering a transcendent Games resonates with a group that, at best, were mere toddlers two decades ago.

The 2014 Olympic Winter Games opened Friday, Feb. 7, at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia.

When it comes to favorite sports, the answers ran the gamut, as skiing (“the body control they have is insane”), hockey (“I’m from Wisconsin where hockey is huge”), figure skating (“it’s very interesting because of the precision”, ski jumping (“they defy gravity while effortlessly flying through the air”), and superpipe (“all the biggest stars are there”) all received mentions.

Prompted for a favorite athlete or moment, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” trumped individuals like Bode Miller, Peter Forsberg, and Apolo Anton Ohno, and my anticipated winner Shaun White.

While the Miracle on Ice still might be the greatest upset in sporting history, the geopolitical implications still bubble up. When explaining why it’s so memorable, Ben Cook ’14 said, “I love capitalism and freedom.”

Shift Gears for Success

Richard Paige — He drew me in with a well-emphasized have.

“I don’t play golf when it’s hot. I don’t play golf when there is a chance of rain, because I don’t have to. I can wait for 250 other great days of weather.”

Listening to Brent Bolick ’91 talk about his life in and around Florida, those words confidently paint a picture of a guy who likes where he is.

Currently, he’s the Jacksonville Division president of Clear Channel Outdoor advertising. Along the way he’s held titles like salesman, fundraiser, landscaper, and public affairs manager.

“I wanted to be a lobbyist,” said Bolick, the son of a lobbyist, when asked if he’d planned on a career in billboards. “It seemed to me that most of the lobbyists I’d come in contact with through my father were lawyers, so I applied to law school.”

Brent Bolick ’91 is the president of Clear Channel Outdoor advertising in Jacksonville, Fla.

There was just one hurdle for Bolick. “I had very average LSAT scores.”

Undaunted, he went to work right out of college on Steve Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign in Indianapolis. That led to a fundraising gig with U.S. Sen. Dan Coats and his 1992 re-election efforts.

Bolick passed on an opportunity to work full-time with the Coats local administrative staff and ended up working at a Carmel landscape company with more than a handful of recent grads.

“They gave us the flexibility to leave and interview when we needed to,” Bolick said, “and they loved us because we had clean driving records and could communicate with customers.”

He did a stint with Sue Anne Gilroy’s secretary of state campaign in 1994 before settling into a public affairs position with IndyGo, the regional transit authority.

From there, he took a chance with Clear Channel Outdoor, worked his way up, moved to Florida to pursue administrative opportunities, eventually rising to president and overseeing 26 people in his Northwest Florida region.

Bolick feels his Wabash education gave him the flexibility to handle whatever challenge awaits.

“Liberal arts means you know enough about everything to be dangerous, but not enough to be an expert,” laughed the political science major. “Because I dabbled in so many things, it makes it so much easier to shift gears in my world, where you may talk to a city councilman downtown, a landowner over here and a sales rep in the office. It’s like handling all of the disciplines. It’s a big snowball of everything.”

While his primary focus as president is to work with community leaders to provide for sustainable growth and consistency of regulation within the industry, one of the benefits of his multi-faceted approach was to learn all aspects of his business.

“To be able to shift gears from real estate to sales to finance to operations is an advantage,” Bolick said. “It was interesting to learn the other sides of the business and how it all fit together.”

While the digital age has affected many, including game-changing developments in the billboard business itself, one thing still ties him to his college days. He’s an old-school note taker.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like there now,” he said. “We didn’t even have computers. I think my last year there was when they opened the first computer lab in the library. Everyone takes notes on laptops or tablets and I’m still taking notes the way I was at Wabash: outlines, bullet points, arrows back. It’s amazing how much more wired things are, how much more tech savvy kids are now.”

A Wabash Q&A:

What is your favorite Wabash tradition?
Monon Bell. We were 0-4 when I was there, so I kept going back until we won one, which we finally did. That’s where I’m able to connect with other alums. The tough part of living down here is just how easy it was to stay connected by going to that one game.

Success and failure are a part of life. To this point, what has been your favorite mistake?
Not taking that job with Sen. Coats in Indianapolis. It was lesson about humility and a hard way to learn it.

If you could cook one meal, what would it be?
Steak and shrimp

If you could give your 10-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Oh, there is so much. Self-esteem and being comfortable in your own skin would be where I’d start.

If you have a personal credo, what is it?
If you start something, finish it.

If in your dreams you could have created one great piece of art – painting, song, sculpture, prose, etc. – by any other person, what would it be?
I have no idea. I’m not an artsy guy. I was always fond of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture?
With any luck, I’m retired and it’s a big family portrait.

If you could wish for one thing in your future, what would it be?
Do the best I can to get my kids through high school and college and off on their own. Hopefully, you did it the right way. I wish there was a guidebook, but there isn’t.

Wabash Preparation Aids Medical Resident

Jason Siegel ’08 with wife, Breanna, and son, Jack.

Richard Paige – This most recent winter storm makes me wish I were in Jason Siegel’s shoes.

Ten days ago he and I were steps away from the Atlantic Ocean sharing the joys of a sunny, 80-degree day in Jacksonville, Fla.  The snowfall blanketing campus today is not a reasonable facsimile for a white-sand beach.

Siegel ’08 would agree.

“When you move here, everybody, says, ‘You are going to miss the seasons.’ I don’t,” he said laughing loudly.  “I enjoy the 80-degree weather in December.”

Jason is a resident at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic.  Four years as a biology major with a chemistry and math minor propelled him to medical school at IU before earning a residency at one of the Southeast’s most reputable medical institutions.

His focus is neurology – disorders of the nervous system.  “It’s not neurosurgery,” Siegel said.  “Neurosurgery is a little sexier, I suppose, but we deal with probably 90-plus percent of the neurological diseases.”

Siegel’s dreams of being a doctor date back to childhood.  The neurology came a bit later.

“I always liked the sciences and when you are a little kid and you do well in school, you are either going to be a doctor, lawyer or astronaut,” laughed Siegel.  “I love neurology.  There was just something that fit.  It’s a very methodical discipline.  You are testing so many different systems.  It’s like a big puzzle.”

I asked Jason, now midway through his residency, what surprised him most about the medical profession, and he didn’t mention long hours of study, patient care or the rigors of residency.  He mentioned the grunt work – transcribing notes, putting in orders, calling nurses.  The stuff you never see on television.

“I spend a lot of time at a computer typing notes, putting in orders, a lot of time on the phone calling nursing homes and nurses,” said Siegel.  “That part, I wasn’t ready for.  I never watch medical shows on TV, but I caught an episode of Grey’s Anatomy a while back and you never see the any of the doctors writing progress notes or admission notes.  That’s something that isn’t recognized…just how much time we sit at a computer.”

When it comes to prepping for a career in medicine, Siegel had these thoughts:

My friends who went to bigger state schools had a little advantage over me in med school at first because you sit in a big lecture hall and you get PowerPoint lectures and you have to memorize them.  It’s straight memorization of notes and textbooks. There is not a ton of critical thinking.

At Wabash it’s the exact opposite, even in the sciences.  There is a lot of discussion and interaction.  Don’t get me wrong, Biology 111 and 112 at Wabash was a lot of memorization, but there is a lot of compare and contrast.  You have to think critically.  There wasn’t a lot of that in the first two years of medical school.

But in years three and four, and definitely in residency moving forward, you don’t do that.  It’s taking a patient, figuring out what’s happened, solving the puzzle and communicating that plan with the patient.  You can be very good at memorizing textbooks, but you have to be good at making connections.  That is where Wabash helped me the most.  Thinking critically is something I do every day.

In trying to take care of people – living humanely – I’ve found there is a bit of resistance to people listening to doctors in general.  Part of that resistance is because when you go to a doctor, you are bearing a lot, you are very vulnerable.  Sometimes we don’t appreciate that and deal with it very well.  Having empathy for what the patient is going through, whether it’s someone helping their mom with a stroke or someone who’s just been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the undergraduate education I’ve seen at other places doesn’t prepare students as well as what I had at Wabash.

A Wabash Q&A:

 What is your favorite Wabash tradition?

My favorite week every year is Monon Bell week.  The campus just has a different energy.  The freshmen staying up ringing the Bell, guarding the Bell.  That’s my favorite tradition, the Monon Bell festivities.

If you could cook one meal, what would it be?

I’m thinking of two things.  One is a very tender New York Strip steak – juicy and pink in the middle – just perfect.  The other thing is a perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I love cookies.  If I could make my grandma’s cookies – they were always soft and gooey, chocolate melted just right when they come out of the oven.  If I could do that, I’d be pretty happy.

If you could give your 10-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell him to start figuring out who he is as soon as he can.  Figure out what you are good at, and what you are not, as early as you can and let that guide you through big decisions in life.

If you have a personal credo, what is it?

There is a Greek temple for Apollo.  There are three things inscribed on it: know thyself, all things in moderation, and in essence, know that you can’t control everything.  Those are three things that have guided me since high school and I’m most cognizant of when making decisions.

If in your dreams you could have  created one great piece of art – painting, song, sculpture, prose, etc. – by any other person, what would it be?

Oh man…My favorite piece of art is a song called “Jupiter” by Gustav Holst, a classical composer who played piano and trombone.  He wrote a suite called “The Planets.” If I could have written “Jupiter” – it’s my favorite song ever – that would be something to put my name on.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture?

I’m probably with my wife and son and we’re all laughing.

If you could wish for one thing in your future, what would it be?

Do people usually put that much thought into this? (laughs) I have to make sure this is right.  I want to make sure my kids are on the right path…figure out who they are, make good decisions and are happy and successful in life.