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Hess, Raeburn Raise Alumni “Spirit” for Bell

Little Gian Head Coach Erik Raeburn

Little Giant Head Coach Erik Raeburn

INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – With the demise of the long-running Monon Stag, members of the Indianapolis Association of Wabash men established a new event – the “Spirit of the Monon Bell.”

DePauw alums and administration pulled out of the annual banquet and roast after last year’s event. Then the Indianapolis men swung into action and created the Thursday night event. nearly 130 Wabash men, significant others, and friends gathered at the historic City Market to celebrate the Monon Bell series. See photos from Thursday’s gathering here.

The IAWM welcomed President Gregory Hess, Coach Erik Raeburn and numerous college leaders joining area alums. President Hess lauded the support and enthusiasm of Wabash alumni and introduced the head coach. Raeburn took his time to entertain with self-deprecating remarks and a few jabs at NCAC officials.

He noted that “Wabash Always Fights” isn’t limited to the football team but every student who attends Wabash.

The group enjoyed small plates, Sun King brews, and the camaraderie of Wabash grads of all generations.

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.

Social Media Changes Part of College Life

Howard W. Hewitt – The only constant in social media is change. Social media is here to stay. The only certain thing is that it will be different tomorrow, next month, or next year.

Facebook has 1.29 billion users worldwide. Twitter has nearly 300 million users around the world.

find-us-on-facebook-logos-1024x245Wabash Communications and Marketing has recently refocused its social media approach to be more focused and less of a shotgun method.

Here is an easy example to make the point. We used to post to Facebook 30-40-50 times a month but our reach, those who actually see the page, was quite low. That was frustrating so we took the advice of cutting edge social media firm, Blue Fuego, which serves higher education.

Immediately we cut our Facebook posts down to 12-15 a month, fewer links to take site visitors elsewhere, and we concentrated on engaging photos. The results have been overwhelming. Since Blue Fuego started measuring our engagement June 1, our level of activity has increased 151 percent!

instagram-logoWe’ve added several new social media outlets as well. Check out the photos on our Instagram page.  Be sure to follow our account and instagram_heart40 (heart) the ones you like best.

podcast-logoMedia Center Director Adam Bowen has written about our new series of Podcasts. Podcasts are ideal for travelers, business men on planes, and those who want an extended interview instead of a snippet. Read Adam’s post for more details on Wabash Podcasts.

While not exactly a social media tool, the College recently invested in a drone. The photos and video from high above 301 Wabash Ave. have drawn lots of attention on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We’re always in the business of recruiting new Wabash men. We have adapted a popular social media platform introduced by Blue Fuego to just one other college. The Brotherhood is a fun and ever-changing look at the men, faculty and staff of Wabash College. Scroll through a few pages to get a look at the Wabash Community.

twitter logoWe remain active on Twitter with daily posts and nearly 2,000 followers. Our YouTube channel is where you can find the latest videos and every Thursday’s Chapel Talk. Our University LinkedIn page provides alums and all of the Wabash community to connect.

Social Media is an always-changing medium. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. It requires flexibility, creativity, and consistent messaging.

Hewitt is Wabash College’s Director of Digital Media.

Podcasts Offer Deeper Look at Wabash

Adam Bowen – The Media Center in conjunction with Communications & Marketing recently launched an institutional podcast called Wabash On My Mind, in honor of the book written by former president Byron K. Trippet. We’re excited about the unique possibilities of the format to continue to tell the Wabash story.

Laura Wysocki

Laura Wysocki

Our hope for this podcast is that it will become a place where long-form conversations take place between faculty, visiting lecturers, students, or anyone on campus with a compelling story.  We would ultimately love for the podcast booth to become a routine stop for visiting scholars to discuss their work, life, and scholarship while here on campus.  We have many people on campus with fascinating backgrounds and strongly encourage community members to submit proposals for podcast episodes.

The podcast is released every Monday at noon and can be found in iTunes by searching “Wabash On My Mind”.  We have also developed standalone apps for both Android and iOS.  The app can also be found by searching “Wabash On My Mind” in iTunes or the Google Play store.  The link for the podcast can also be found with our other social media links on the Wabash homepage.

If you are interested in scheduling a podcast interview, please contact Adam Bowen in the Media Center for details.

Wabash Men Have Fun Time for Good Cause

http://youtu.be/0MRAh5UqnqM

Howard W. Hewitt – Wabash leadership, faculty and staff take their jobs very seriously.

Wabash students obviously take their studies and extra-curricular activities seriously.

Corey

Egler

But at times we lament that we just don’t have enough fun. While that is arguably not true, we know there is always fun lurking around the next corer. A social media/pop music fad that started in Kentucky has swept the nation. So the long story made short is a group of fraternity men at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., set the bar really high with a no-edit lip-sync of Taylor Swift’s hit “Shake it Off.” By the way, that pop hit has more than 170 million views on YouTube. The Transylvania guys are nearing a quarter million views. The initial video challenged visitors to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society/

Nate

Bode

Those Transylvania Delta Sigma Chi gentlemen really started something. The Challenge was created to get other colleges involved to raise awareness of a good cause. Colleges across the nation are now dancing to #CollegeShakeOff and #ShakeItUp. Students at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) danced to the Swift hit and challenged IU, Purdue and Wabash College. The Jaguars wanted to raise suicide awareness.

Myers

Myers

So when Wabash men are challenged, they answer the call. The craze came to our attention in the Communications and Marketing office. We turned it totally over to students Corey Egler ’15 and Nathan Bode ’16. Those two deserve all the credit along with videographer Austin Myers ’16.

They managed to talk students, faculty, and staff into dancing for the video. Oh, and their is a brief cameo by one administrator you might recognize. The Wabash men decided to raise awareness for Men’s Health – something of a tradition at Wabash during Movember.

Serious fun!

 

Extraordinary Encounters

Indiana pastors with the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program worshipped with Nobel Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu last Friday on his 83rd birthday.

Indiana pastors with the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program worshipped with Nobel Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu last Friday on his 83rd birthday.

“Check out the attached picture,” Associate Professor of Religion Derek Nelson ’99 wrote to me in an email last Friday. I opened the attachment to find what you see here: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in liturgical vestments, standing with a group of Indiana pastors from the Wabash Pastoral Leadership program.

So what are they doing in South Africa? (Other than receiving Holy Communion from one of the most famous peace activists on the planet, that is—and on the same day this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners were announced.)

That’s pretty much what everyone I told about this photo has asked. Apparently the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program—one of the College’s four Centers of Distinction—is also one of the College’ best kept secrets.

Time to get the word out.

Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and founded in 2008 by Professor Emeritus Raymond Williams H’68, the program selects up to 18 Indiana pastors who in their first five to ten years have demonstrated high potential for significant leadership. They participate in a series of meetings, conversations with outstanding leaders, and two study tours over a two-year period. I have photographed a few of the sessions here on campus. I have seen the safe space and remarkable support, guidance, and inspiration the Center provides these gifted and dedicated servants of their congregations, and that they give one another.

They express their gratitude for the program in testimonials on the program’s Web site that capture well the deep need the Center is meeting: “I had been told plenty of times that I needed to be a good leader, but I was given little space or time to reflect on leadership,” one pastor writes. “Part cloister and part think tank, the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program has been a tremendous gift in my life that has created a community for theological and practical reflection on leadership.”

“The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program was the greatest opportunity to grow as a pastoral leader I’ve ever been given,” writes another.

The current group is the second immersed in a study tour of South Africa, and Associate Director Libby Manning says “the trip has tied together so many of the community issues we have been studying with the pastors. We’re learning about the ways that education, conflict resolution, economics and immigration play into the health and well-being of our communities, and the place that the churches have in that ongoing process.”

The pastors toured Robben Island on Monday, guided by a former prisoner there and cellmate of Nelson Mandela, Eddie Daniels.

While most of the visit is carefully arranged, the encounter with Desmond Tutu was “mostly a case of being in the right place at the right time,” says Nelson, who in 2013 was named the Center’s director. A colleague of Derek’s was hosting the pastors at Stellenbosch University at the same time the school held a conference with Bishop Tutu. “So the pastors were on his radar screen, and the dean of the cathedral in Cape Town invited them to daily Mass.”

The pastors are blogging about their experience in South Africa at the Center’s Web site, where you’ll see one way the College’s original mission—”the training of teachers and preachers”—is being lived out in new, important, and unexpected ways.

 

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.”


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