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That Rings A Bell

That’s not tinnitus sweeping across campus, it’s only the sound of the Monon Bell tolling from the Chapel steps ringing in your ears. Below are the responses of Wabash men — both current students and alumni — when asked what was their favorite Wabash tradition.

Hezekiah Eibert ‘15
“I love Wabash and I love our traditions.  That is one of my favorite parts of this place.  If you were forcing me to choose, I’d say the guarding and the ringing of the Bell the week prior and the week after.  Homecoming is the pride of your house. Monon Bell is the entire campus – everybody alike – unified in keeping that Bell safe and making sure the whole town can hear it ring.”

Steve Ganson ‘73
“The Monon Bell because it was so much fun. My senior year was the year that a few of my former roommates actually stole the Bell from ourselves, from Wabash, and we blamed DePauw. They had it in their apartment and the uproar was unbelievable. They went into the gym and took the Bell right off the balcony there and took it to their room. That had to be the Fall of ’72. Sports Illustrated did a story on the game the following year and mentioned the incident.”

Bell

To the victor…

Wes Hauser ‘15
“Bell Week. The atmosphere on campus is a lot of fun – even the professors get into the spirit by making jokes during class time. Everyone is so chipper. It adds some spice to the semester.”

Ivan Koutsopatriy ‘16
“The Monon Bell. That one is usually a hard one for students because while you are studying anywhere on campus, you can hear that thing ringing non-stop.”

 Jared Lange ‘08
“Protecting the Bell and the interactions with alumni in that week.”

Jason Siegel ‘08
“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.”

Brent Bollick ‘91
“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 (in Jacksonville, Fla.) is just how easy it was to stay connected by going to that one game.”

Spencer Burk ‘14
“It has to be the Bell. It has to do with everything on campus. It’s bigger than a game.”

 

A Critical Eye on the Founding Fathers

I sat in on Scott Himsel’s Founding Brothers and Revolutionary Characters freshman tutorial recently, and plopped down in the middle of a lively debate. To observe was almost enjoyable as taking part.

I’m a sucker for the Founding Fathers and became intrigued with this class over the summer when Cameron McDougal ’12 said it was the most influential class he took at Wabash. After a few run-ins with Himsel and discussions about the class, he invited me to attend.

In this class, students are asked to discuss and debate a multitude of topics, first through the words of the Founding Fathers, and then by connecting those words to current events. To paraphrase Himsel, “the historical point and the modern parallel.”

Grant Wolf '18

Grant Wolf ’18

Himsel often asks students to argue in favor of perspectives they disagree with. It teaches them, Himsel says, “to walk around the entirety of the problem” McDougal took the class thinking he could rely on the words of Thomas Jefferson. More often than not, Himsel had him arguing from the position of Alexander Hamilton.

I enjoyed watching these guys think, reason, and react. At times they’d jot down notes or point a finger—that telltale response that informs the world, “I have a thought worth sharing.”

You could tell these guys were enjoying the process, at least as much as the thumb-worn, dog-eared, underlined and highlighted copies of “Something That Will Surprise the World” could attest.

Himsel poked and prodded his students through the discussion with his own questions: “Are you sure?” “Could you take that a step further?” He went so far as to pull out a dollar bill to make a point. He wasn’t stifling or correcting, but giving these gentlemen the freedom to walk around this problem.

Watching people think; to see the wheels turning – to see them reach for a book, thumb through a section, and look for just the right passage in response – is fun. Himsel brings the class to conclusion by relating the day’s questions to current court cases. Words from another century easily can be lost in translation, but these words still carry weight, even when borrowed by sitting Supreme Court justices.

After class, several students came forward and asked nuanced questions—they were not only engaged, but were developing a critical eye.

As this mid-term election season comes to a conclusion tomorrow, we’ve seen plenty of politicians cloak themselves in the language of the Founding Fathers. It’s reassuring to see this group of students grasping the importance of perspective in the ability to discern persuasion from political speak.

On To Year Two

Yesterday was my one-year anniversary on the Wabash campus, and such a milestone served as a good time to hit the brakes and reflect on the knowledge gained in the last 365 days I’ve managed to put in the rear-view mirror.

I’ve asked a series of questions in every Wabash interview I’ve done in that time. A stream-of-consciousness thing, quick thoughts to see how people think. On this occasion, I felt like looking at the wisdom of the answers to one question in particular:

What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

The answers loosely fell into three categories: don’t take life to seriously, try new things, and work hard.

That’s simple, right? Not exactly.

Ivan Koutsopatriy ‘16.

Ivan Koutsopatriy ‘16.

With a year to reflect and a little institutional knowledge now working to my advantage, each answer now carries a little more weight.

The guys who fell into the “don’t take life too seriously category” are some of the most focused and driven people around, like Ivan Koutsopatriy ‘16, Scott Purucker ‘16, Derrick Li ‘14, Jared Lang ‘08, and Brent Bolick ‘91.

Koutsopatriy simply stated, “Do you,” when I asked him that question. Sage advice from a guy who was described as having “a core of energy that is just bottomless,” according to chemistry professor Lon Porter.

Those who championed new experiences relied on the benefits of lessons learned.

Brian Kopp ‘98, a senior vice president for sports solutions at STATS, Inc., said, “Don’t be afraid to try new things and to make mistakes because sometimes that’s when you learn the most.”

He’s a guy who is using captured data to change the way NBA head coaches, some of the most regimented people you’ll ever meet, think and analyze the game.

“Take advantage of a lot of different opportunities,” said Steve Ganson ‘73, who has officiated high school basketball for 37 years. “Don’t let something strange scare you away,”

Those are words of wisdom from a Wally who caught the officiating bug during his Wabash days as a manager when the basketball coach suggested he referee the team scrimmages even though he had zero experience and admits now that he didn’t know much about the game back then.

Acclaimed artist and art advocate Matthew Deleget ‘94 took a more practical role in advice distribution, stating, “There is virtue in working hard and people who work hard have greater insights into things.”

“Study as a hard as possible,” was the response from biology and German double major Jingwei Song ‘15.

While insights gained from studying more and working hard are undoubtedly beneficial, I’ll end with the thoughts of Emmanuel Aouad ‘10, who said, “Do everything exactly the same and you’re going to be all right.”

I’m still not certain whether Emmanuel intended to deliver such a thought in the hopeful regard that we all eventually find our passion, or that he was experienced enough to be patting himself on the back. In true Wabash fashion, he delivered it with a smile and all the confidence to say there wasn’t a wrong interpretation.

That reminds me of something a professor announced to the class on my first day of graduate school. “There are no wrong answers here,” he said. “You will only be judged by how intelligently you defend your positions.”

My education continues. On to year two.

Passion Flows at Ides of August

It would be easy to say that our Ides of August works simply as a venue for sharing scholarly research. Besides, that would be boring.

I say it’s about passion. While the research is intriguing, it’s the underlying passion during these presentations that leaves a lasting impression.

To hear professors Adriel Trott or Laura Wysocki talk of the joys of ancient Greek philosophy or chemistry is to share their passion for the subjects, whether you know anything about Philopappou Hill or the angle of a hexagon bond.

Trott_Wysocki

Adriel Trott (left) and Laura Wysocki

For 30 minutes apiece Friday, Trott and Wysocki were among 17 Wabash faculty members who delivered updates on creative work and research efforts to colleagues. And in their time in the spotlight, those two led a charge that was engaged, energetic, and informative.

All that with Tasmanian Devil-levels of energy. OK, maybe it wasn’t that much energy, but it was more than enough to make you to sit up and take notice. Passion is contagious.

There were smiles, laughter, and changes in volume you just don’t get from most scholarly conferences.

Trott worked on Capitol Hill before heading to graduate school and a switch of career paths, saying, “I thought that I could do more somewhere where I was thinking and encouraging others to think. That’s what led me down this road.”

Wysocki caught the teaching bug in high school, when a biology teacher noticed that she had a sense for when information gets across to someone, and let her teach a class. From there, the passion took root and has blossomed in Hays Hall.

“I’m kind of a science nerd and this is a job where I get to be excited, unabashedly, unapologetically, excited about what I talk about,” Wysocki said. “I let that loose when I talk about my work.”

She certainly did.

That energy is essential to the faculty here. According to Lon Porter, chemistry professor and chair of the Ides of August committee, it’s a core belief that has earned its day of celebration.

“It’s central to faculty as individuals and to why and how we do what we do,” he said. “We get passionate about content, about process, about instrumentation, about analysis, about argument, about debate, and I think that really comes out. The energy that comes from this is really a fun thing.”

One faculty member summed it up best by saying of Trott’s presentation, “You had me wanting to go to Greece.”

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.”