Immersed in Art and Baseball

Richard Paige — We talk a great deal here about the impact of immersion trips. In the next few days alone, Wabash men will be traipsing across the globe, including destinations like Italy and South Africa.

Rhetoric professor Todd McDorman immersed his Baseball and the American Identity freshman tutorial class in the charming hamlet known as Cooperstown, NY, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in mid-October.

I was curious how such a trip might influence a group of guys — baseball fans — a good number of them baseball players, too. It’s not like the guys headed to Rome can actually define themselves as gladiators. Would it make an impact, or be brushed off like that of a bad-hop ground ball?

Eilshemius’ “Van Courtland Park”

Eilshemius’ “Van Courtland Park”

Bryce Bridgewater ’19 is one of 13 who made the trip. The class impacted him long before the group made it to Cooperstown.

“I’m a baseball player and I love the sport,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d ever be given an opportunity like that to learn and analyze different aspects of the game; how baseball and America have grown up together and shaped history. It wasn’t what I expected. The game and America are best friends.”

Each had a research project on how a particular subject is presented and influenced by its presentation in Hall of Fame.

Bridgewater threw himself a curve. For a guy who had been to one art museum previously, he chose art and baseball simply because it was different. He spent four hours in the exhibit.

Andy Worhol's "Tom Seaver" also was a favorite.

Andy Warhol’s “Tom Seaver” also was a favorite.

“It was hard at times not to be a fan,” said the right-handed pitcher from Indianapolis. “You get caught up in it, but you have to remember that you are being a critic. It took some time to step back and make those connections.”

He noticed that each work of art had its own interpretation of the game. He started to see the game from a different perspective.

“It gave me a chance to see what the game looked like in different eras and how it’s changed,” Bridgewater said. “The game my grandpa knew and the game my dad knew is different than the game I know.”

One piece resonated strongly with Bridgewater. Louis M. Eilshemius’ “Van Courtland Park” shows the game in its infancy. It reminded him of what made him fall in love with the game. “It was like playing a pick-up game in the backyard with friends,” he said.

The experience opened his eyes to the impact that art has on any subject.

"Phil Niekro" by LaVern Brock was constructed completely of baseball cards.

“Phil Niekro” by LaVern Brock was constructed completely of baseball cards.

“I didn’t think that a painting could have told me about the connections or the importance,” he said. “The art, the artifacts, the exhibit, the town itself that all opened my eyes. Art is more than just a painting, there is a story behind it. If I went back to that art museum, I might feel differently now.”

The experience allowed him to draw parallels between pitching and painting. Whether it’s attacking the hitters or the canvas, it’s the approach that is unique.

“Every athlete’s or artist’s approach is different,” Bridgewater concluded. “They might be inspired by something completely different. It’s all interpretation. That’s why I think art and baseball are fascinating. You might get similar results, but the process is so much different.”

Medieval History Made Fun

Richard Paige — If only every idea that crossed your desk could be as whimsical.

Professor of History Stephen Morillo got an out-of-the-blue e-mail from a high school student named Greyson Beights, who asked if Morillo could write a 200-word description of the Battle of Hastings.

That whimsy eventually became Medieval Lego, a book that pairs real historians’ summaries of events like the Battle of Hastings, the chartering of Oxford University, and the signing of the Magna Carta with Lego bricks.

I don’t think there could there be a better way to make any subject appealing to children than to mix in Lego constructions.

Professor Morillo's contributions inside Medieval Lego.

Professor Morillo’s contributions can be found inside Medieval Lego.

“It’s an interesting, almost noble thought to make Medieval history interesting to kids by building Lego set pieces of famous battles or sieges,” Morillo said. “Greyson did it right. He got good builders and made good Lego constructions. He made it reliable and respectable by getting in touch with some big-name Medieval historians like Robert Bartlett and Steven Isaac.”

Two-hundred words on the Battle of Hastings. Would he do it?

“I’m thinking I could do that in my sleep,” said Morillo. “Sure, I’ll take part. So I sent him my stuff.”

Some 15 months later, a copy of Medieval Lego arrived in Morillo’s office. The finished product was impressive. Plus, the Battle of Hastings landed on the cover.

“It was a damn good idea,” Morillo said. “He makes some real connections here.”

I asked Morillo if this particular publication would leap to the top of his C.V. “Yes, I think it will,” he laughed. “It’s the most recent thing, so, of course, it goes right to the top.”

One Play, One Memorable Tackle

Richard Paige — So many things have to come together for any single play in football to work. When they do, it can lead to a very special moment.

Sixty-seven seconds remained in the Little Giants’ 55-7 win at Wooster last weekend when special happened.

“If you would have seen the way the guys on the sideline reacted, you would have thought that we won the national championship,” offensive coordinator Don Morel said. “That’s as much fun as I’ve had in 25 years of coaching.”

Ethan Shultz '19

Ethan Shultz ’19

Ethan Shultz is a freshman outside linebacker. He stands 5-foot-6, weighs 152 pounds, and is diabetic. For him to even be on the team is borderline miraculous.

He’s a member of the scout team defense, which means each week he and 10 other teammates mimic the opponent’s defense to give the starters a chance to simulate what they might face on Saturday.

It’s a thankless job because scout teamers spend more time learning the opposing D than they do their own.

Coaches notice. And they noticed Shultz, who sticks his nose in there every day and plays to the best of his ability on each play. He does everything asked of him.

Shultz grew up in Danville, Ohio, roughly 30 miles from the Wooster campus, and as a reward for his hard work, earned a spot on the Little Giants’ travel team. That’s as much as any freshman could hope for.

Late in the game with the Little Giants cruising, Shultz’s teammates began chanting his name. They wanted him to get a chance to play. The coaches started to talk. Could we get him on the field?

“Something crazy had to happen for us to get him in the game,” said assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Olmy Olmstead. “We’re on defense and we need something to get him in on the kickoff squad.”

A few plays later, A.J. Clark ’16 intercepted a pass and returned it 58 yards for a score. Crazy just happened and Coach Erik Raeburn green lighted the decision to put him in.

Shultz trotted on to the field for the ensuing kick-off. With the ball on its way, he sprinted down the field wearing No. 58, and he made the tackle. The Little Giant sideline erupted.

“It felt great to make that tackle on my first collegiate play,” Shultz explained. “It felt as all the hard work I’ve put in on scout team finally came to fruition.”

This isn’t a Rudy experience, that’s fairytale. Moments like Shultz’s happen far more often in college sports than Hollywood ever lets on. What’s truly memorable about Ethan’s performance is that in the singular moment – seven seconds in total – he got an opportunity and made the most of it. The hard work, the practices, the focus, the dedication. He. Made. The. Tackle.

Coaches love when their guys rise and meet the moment. Ethan Shultz did exactly that.

“I’m not sure how much Ethan Schultz is going to get in there and play in the future, but I can promise you that if he continues to perform like he does on our scout team, you are going to want that guy in your organization.

“He absolutely earned it,” Olmstead said. “He deserved every second of that moment.”

Seven seconds, three frames, one memorable tackle.

Seven seconds, three frames, one memorable tackle.

3D Printing Fosters Lasting Connection

Wabash Summer Research: In Our Own Words is a multimedia piece that uses the voices of Wabash College students to describe still photographs of their summer research work in the biology, chemistry, physics, and 3D printing laboratories on campus. The piece includes photographs by Grace Vaught with editing done by Austin Myers ’16.


A 3D printer helped bring a 1,500-year-old mathematics text to life.

While working on a manuscript of his own, assistant professor of mathematics Colin McKinney was perusing a text written in the late fifth century A.D. by Eutocius that described in great detail how to construct a device that would solve a basic geometry problem.

According to McKinney, Eutocius was very detailed in his descriptions of the mesolabe, right down to its dovetail-shaped groves.

“The text that describes this instrument is very clear in the language of how to construct it,” McKinney said. “For a mathematical text, that is kind of interesting.”

Sufficiently intrigued, McKinney was faced with a choice. He could spend the better part of a weekend carving it out of wood or he could 3D print it, “and that seemed much easier,” he laughed.

Professor McKinney's mesolabe both as a work in progress (top) and completed.

Professor McKinney’s mesolabe both as a work in progress (top) and completed.

Using Eutocius’ descriptions, McKinney designed the piece in an hour or two and used the Wabash 3D Printing and Fabrication Center to pint it. From inspiration to prototype took the better part of an afternoon.

“The advantage of 3D printing is you can try something and make modifications quickly,” McKinney said. “If I’m making this out of wood and discovered it wouldn’t work, that would have been an entire weekend gone. It really accelerates the rate at which you can try different things.”

The extruded plastic output also solidified a connection to the text that was unexpected. McKinney got a qualitative response to a very quantitative problem.

“That’s the awesome part,” he explained. “It’s real math history and to be able to make something that’s described in a text just totally changes that text. To be able to say here is the 21st century version of that fourth century device really brings it to life in a way the text in itself doesn’t.”

What began as work on a research paper soon grew into something bigger.

“To be able to get this thing prototyped quickly meant that I could keep making progress on that paper,” McKinney said. “I knew it would work in a geometric sense because I could prove that, but it’s totally different to put this on a piece of paper and, bam, those are the links right there that I need.”

The success McKinney enjoyed in crafting the mesolabe with the 3D printer has led him to attempt to produce more complicated devices. It’s also spawned a second paper.

The Value of a Mentor

Richard Paige – While the College celebrates the teaching and artistic accomplishments of Doug Calisch this weekend with the opening of 35 Retro in the Eric Dean Gallery, I was interested in the role than a mentor plays in the development of an artist.

So I reached out to Joe Trumpey ’88 via e-mail and asked him this: how important or meaningful is a mentor to a developing artist?

His reply was better than I could have hoped, and captures so many of the qualities that make Doug worth celebrating.

Joe Trumpey '88.

Joe Trumpey ’88.

“Doug Calisch was just the mentor I needed to launch my creative life. He is a calm, patient, and caring man. It was that demeanor that swayed me into a dual major. As a freshman I was a biology major thinking about an art minor. Getting to know Doug in 3-D design as a freshman, I realized that “making stuff” was an important part of who I am. I saw that creative quality in Doug and his work. He gently encouraged me to complete a dual major. He was not high pressure. Just an idea. Just there. Listening to me. Paying attention to me. Talking with me. Caring for me. Holding me accountable. Challenging me. How could I refuse? I valued those qualities then and still today. I learned a lot about being an educator from Doug and still strive to be the calm, attentive mentor that he was to me and countless others.”

Now an associate professor of art at the University of Michigan, Trumpey also relayed a story that brought things full circle for him.

“I was the student representative on Doug’s tenure review committee. Once he successfully achieved the tenure he deserved, he went on sabbatical and began building the home he designed. I spent a good part of that summer working in a bio lab on a research project during the day and spent nights and weekends helping Doug and Laura build their home. Twenty-three years later, after I achieved tenure at the University of Michigan, I began building my own home. Doug and Laura’s son, Sam, contacted me interested in green building. Sam came to Michigan and lived with us for more than a month working hard in building our home. It was a fulfilling and beautiful thing.”


Student-Professor Continuum

Richard Paige — For those who live the cyclical life of academia, commencement isn’t unlike the yard of bricks at IMS, a finish line to yet another year.

Certainly, all professors enjoy some aspect of the proceedings when optimism is in abundance and the possibilities are endless.

Marc Hudson

Marc Hudson

For Dan Rogers, Professor of Modern Languages, there is a joy in the connections made with students and families, and the shared sense of accomplishment that is celebrated. From meeting parents on Freshman Saturday to seeing them again at Commencement, it’s nice to play a role in that progression.

“When you teach a freshman tutorial, you meet students and their families at the very beginning of their college career,” Rogers said. “It’s always wonderful to see them again at graduation and share in the collective joy of their accomplishments. Some of the most heartfelt moments I’ve experienced as a Wabash professor happen with those families right after commencement.”

Two Wabash professors also found themselves in the same shoes as the 229 graduates, as Marc Hudson and David Polley were retiring after nearly 60 combined years in Wabash classrooms and labs.

David Polley

David Polley

A Buddhist thought came to mind for Hudson, a Professor of English, when asked what’s next.

“Each moment is a new moment, whether we are graduating from college or retiring from teaching after 28 years,” he said. “Each moment is brand new, has never been lived, never been experienced before, so I’m going to live my future in that spirit.”

When asked a similar question, Polley, a Professor of Biology, conjured up this thought.

“Like the graduates, I feel the same sense of relief, and a little bit of surprise,” he laughed. “I didn’t have any different feelings getting ready, it’s just part of a continuum.”

‘I Want to Work For David Letterman’

Richard Paige — For Ryan Smith ’03, it was just a thought one day on the way to class.

“I want to work for David Letterman.”

Smith, an Emmy Award-winning field producer for CBS News, has done that and more. Not only did he serve as a page for a year with the “Late Show with David Letterman” after receiving his master’s degree at Columbia University, but he was also part of a large team that prepped last night’s 90-minute special, “David Letterman: A Life on Television,” which aired on CBS.

The journey into television has been an amazing experience for Smith.

“When I was at Wabash, I had no bigger hero than Letterman,” he said. “He was the reason I went into television. I applied and was lucky enough to become a page for the Late Show. I’m very, very fortunate because at Wabash and at CBS, I’ve been able to stand on the shoulders of giants and live out those dreams.”

Ryan Smith '03 is one of the lucky few to sit at David Letterman's legendary desk at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Ryan Smith ’03 is one of the lucky few to sit at David Letterman’s desk at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Working on the “Late Show” helped Smith learn how a television show is produced, connect daily with audience members, and get a sense of what needed to be accomplished. Those skills translated well when working with the senior staff at CBS News in getting a show to air.

“It was fascinating to watch others do their jobs,” said Smith, who majored in political science with a Classics minor. “When I moved over to CBS news, I still had that sense of what needed to be done.”

Smith credits the expectations that his Wabash professors had for him as one of the reasons he’s felt comfortable in television news. The mindset of accepting new challenges; that no day or story is quite the same.

“I was so lucky to have professors that challenged me,” said Smith. “I was always driven to deliver for them. I owe so much to the team at Wabash who always expected the most out of me, therefore, I began to expect the most out of myself. I’m able to meet changing demands head on because of those expectations.”

As Letterman’s late night career comes to a close after more than three decades, Smith is proud that his television experiences – both with the legendary host and CBS News – have come full circle on the Letterman retrospective.

“Having been at CBS News for almost a decade and to circle back to where it started for me, I almost couldn’t believe it,” he concluded. “I had the opportunity to be a part of a great team and pay respect to a living legend. I am very fortunate to have learned from the best and to work with the best.”

Bravely Dreamed and Steadily Accomplished

A fantastic result in a debut performance

The Anh Pham, a Wabash College freshman from Hanoi, Vietnam, won the gold medal at the U.S. Midwest “Chinese Bridge” Speech Contest, April 18, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

The Anh Pham '18

The Anh Pham ’18

Pham’s winning speech, titled, “How to be a Real Man,” discussed three main points: being respectful, being responsible, and never shying away from love. In the talent portion of the program, he wished all prosperity and peace to all by drawing a Rock’s Peony with traditional Chinese painting techniques – a simple brush dipped in ink – in only three minutes.

“Participating in the Midwest ‘Chinese Bridge’ Speech Contest was a greatly rewarding experience for me,” said Pham. “Thanks to this participation, my Chinese speaking skills have significantly improved. I was a bit overwhelmed when I was awarded the gold medal.”

It marked the first time a Wabash student had participated in the competition.

Now in its 14th year, the U.S. Midwest “Chinese Bridge” Speech Contest promotes Chinese language and culture education in the Midwest and strengthens exchanges between college-level Chinese programs in the region. All non-native undergraduate and graduate students of Chinese language in the Midwest and Great Lakes areas are eligible to participate.

The winning effort was a culmination of work by Pham and I-Ting Chiu, Visiting Instructor of Chinese. After spending time researching topics and integrating ideas, Pham and Chiu settled down to a rough draft in early April, using the last two weeks to rehearse and sharpen Pham’s delivery skills.

“We taped his performance and pointed out his weaknesses,” explained Chiu. “His pronunciation and stage manner were significantly improved through those practices within this short time. It’s accumulation. There is no shortcut in language learning, only practice makes perfect.”

Pham’s victory was especially rewarding for Chiu as well.

“I’m proud that we had dreamed bravely and accomplished steadily,” said Chiu. “As his instructor, it was a great pleasure to help him to win. That enthusiasm in learning and the great improvements he displayed are the best encouragements to teaching.”

Pham drew this during the talent portion of the contest.

Pham drew this during the talent portion of the contest.

The competition was a learning experience in itself for Pham, opening new perspectives on language acquisition.

“It was also a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how other students are learning Chinese, and how our pathways to learning Chinese differ,” Pham said. “I feel truly thankful for the tremendous support from Professor Chiu, who helped me polish my speech and greatly improve my pronunciations.”

The Statehouse Door Opens

Richard Paige — In an effort to get an up-close look at politics at the state level, 32 Wabash students spent Tuesday at the Indiana Statehouse interacting with legislators and lobbyists as part of Independent Colleges of Indiana’s “Lobby Day.”

Interested students, all from Indiana private colleges and universities, are invited to attend one of three such sessions during the year. Joining the Wabash crew were representatives from six other institutions.

Many of the Wallies in attendance were from Professor Shamira Gelbman’s PSC111 class “Introduction to American Politics,” and this was their first exposure to state government.

“It humanizes the process and gives it some impact,” said Anthony Repay ’17. “It’s good for a senator or representative to put a face on something as broad as funding for education and nice for us to see the people behind those decisions.”

An introductory meeting at the Indiana Historical Society set the tone for the day. There, ICI staff members explained the two-fold purpose of Lobby Day. First, it’s a chance for students to introduce and interact with state senators and representatives. Secondly, through such contacts and hand-written notes, it lets the students actively lobby those legislators on the topic of educational funding.

Michael Lumpkin '18 listens to lobbyist Kip Tew at the Indiana Statehouse.

Michael Lumpkin ’18 listens to lobbyist Kip Tew at the Indiana Statehouse.

Founded in 1948, the ICI purpose is to advance the interest of students both at the Statehouse in Indianapolis and in Washington, D.C. The organization represents more than 100,000 students on 31 campuses throughout the state with a goal of creating citizens that contribute to society.

“To see the building and see the work that goes on in the statehouse has great value,” said associate professor of rhetoric Todd McDorman. “To think about the way in which education is funded, and how so many of the students at Wabash attend, at least in part, based upon state aid, grants, and scholarships, has great value as well.”

While at the Statehouse, the students were able to tour building, including both the senate and house chambers and committee rooms, and talk with legislators and lobbyists. In fact, the group was able to speak directly with lobbyists Kip Tew and Michael Biberstine ’00, as well as state senator Randy Head (R-18) ’91.

The day concluded a meeting with Kelly Mitchell, Indiana State Treasurer. Mitchell, who was elected to the office in November, talked about her job responsibilities, Indiana’s conventioning process, and the rigors of running for political office.

The impacts of the day weren’t lost on Brian Hayhurst ’16. “It’s something that you don’t get in the classroom, a real eye-opening experience. I’m a math major, but I do really enjoy learning how the system works. That’s not just something for a political science major, everyone gets to experience that in their lives.”

“Hey, Wabash!”

Richard Paige – We talk often of connections at Wabash, and I’m still caught off guard at times at how the shared experience of being a Wabash man makes for seemingly instant friendships.

I had lunch with Larry Haugh ’66 and Jeff Callane ‘94 while spending New Year’s in Burlington, Vt., and enjoyed an easygoing conversation that lasted more than 90 minutes over pizza not too far from the shores of Lake Champlain.

Math majors each and Indiana natives, Haugh and Callane took slightly different routes to Burlington.

Haugh, a Kappa Sig, is professor emeritus of statistics at the University of Vermont, having retired as department head in 2006. As he said, “I loved every part of my job, but it had too many parts between the teaching, administration, and research. There were times when I needed more sleep.”

Larry Haugh (left) and Jeff Callane on St. Paul Street in Burlington, VT.

Larry Haugh (left) and Jeff Callane on St. Paul Street in Burlington, VT.

Callane, a Sigma Chi, followed his other brother, James ’92, to Crawfordsville to play tennis for George Davis (“Holy cow, there is a Callane who can volley,” is what Davis is reported to have said upon seeing the younger Callane play for the first time). He’s now an account executive for Aon, the global insurance and risk management provider.

Separated by 28 years at Wabash, these two had never met, but you wouldn’t know it by the warmth of the conversation. They talked over the top of each other, finished thoughts, cajoled, and laughed…all the things that friends do when talking.

Having two guys at the table gave me the opportunity to present the Wabash Q&A to multiple people for the first time. Their conversation is below. I hope their conversation reads as engagingly as it came off in real time.


Me: What’s your favorite Wabash tradition?

JC: Oh man, I’d have to say…

LH: Definitely not the singing.

JC: You mean Chapel Sing? It is the most ingrained.

LH: That’s emphasized at Big Bash. Do you ever go back? They recreate the Chapel Sing, so that’s funny. Did they have the greased pole climb when you where there? Some of the traditions die out. Pan-Hel was a big tradition and party, so I assume that’s still going strong. Fraternities and living units used to put a lot of work into that with decorations and inviting your dates to campus. It was a big weekend. Otherwise, it’s just going back to the fraternity where I lived and seeing how that’s changed.

JC: Homecoming was always interesting, too.


Me: Life is full of successes and failures. To this point, what is your favorite mistake?

LH: I hate these kinds of questions. I’m a math major.

JC: (laughs) Maybe I should have gone to class a bit more often.


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

LH: Any breakfast for me.

JC: Hands down, it has to be Elsie Burgers. Elsie was our cook at the Sig house. Oh, the Elsie Burgers.


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

LH: I do have an almost 10-year-old grandson and I would tell him to try a lot of different things and enjoy the trying of them. He’s doing that pretty well now.

JC: I would have to say, in the entire life sense, to be polite. Say “please and thank you”. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way. Do your best.

LH: That’s something we’ve worked on quite a bit with our grandson.


Me: Do either of you have a personal credo, and if so, what is it?

LH: Closest to that would be a saying that’s been passed down in my family, “Be yourself.” It was on a big log that used to hang in my grandfather’s cabin.

JC: I remember one thing – this isn’t mine – my first boss always said, “Hurry up and get it done, but take your time and do it right.” The M.O. that I’ve tried to live by my entire life works out like this: If you come in early, you’re going to stay late. If you come in late, you are going to leave early.


Me: If in your dreams you could have created one great piece of art, what would it be?

LH: I can only say what I like because I’m not an artist. I’ve always liked metal sculptures…

JC: Having the opportunity to study in Salzburg my junior year and getting a chance to go through museums in Germany, Paris, and Amsterdam, I can’t say there is any one that stuck with me. You know, Bob Ross, the old landscape painter – a little tree likes to live here – I’ve kind of tried a little oil on canvas. I’m not very good. It would be a personal landscape.


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

JC: Oh man, I’ve got a huge grin, standing at the top of one of these mountains getting ready to ski down with my kids.

LH: That’s appropriate for me, too. I just love doing things with the family. Anything with the family is enjoyable.

JC: A big smile. When you see a smile like that, it’s infectious.


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

LH: I’ve been lucky to be healthy for this long, so I’d like to see that continue…to be able to actively travel.

JC: With an almost 13-year-old and a 10-year-old, I really just want to see them happy and successful with whatever they choose to do. Maybe there is a Wabash future for my son, Jack.

Speaking of connections, here is one more.

Callane and his family first moved to Burlington about three years ago. He was wearing a Wabash sweatshirt to one of his son’s tee-ball games when the coach approached him and asked about the sweatshirt. Callane wondered how the coach knew of Wabash. “I work with a Wabash grad,” was the reply.

Sometime later, Callane was with his daughter, Neeve, at her sixth-grade open house at Colchester Middle School when someone shouted, “Hey, Wabash,” as he passed by.

That’s when he met John Upchurch ’97, a teacher at the school.

“I stopped cold in my tracks,” Callane explained. “I meet John and realize that we were on campus the same time, and got to talking about the Phi Delts and the Sigs. It really took us back to campus. I got chills just talking about it.”

Callane and Upchurch since have gotten together frequently for Monon Bell viewings and such.

“Had I not been wearing that sweatshirt, it might have taken a lot longer to make the connection,” said Callane.

To bring this connection full circle, Neeve is now a student in Upchurch’s class.

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