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A Final Thought Before Finals

Steve Bowen '68

Steve Bowen ’68

What do students learn at Wabash College?

Monday marks the beginning of final exams— a time where students are tested on everything presented throughout the fall semester.

It can be exhausting. It can be overwhelming. It can even be intimidating. Most importantly, will these facts, figures, names, and numbers be remembered years down the road?

Steve Bowen ’68, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, learned a lot during his time as an undergrad. As he shared with students during Thursday’s Chapel Talk, Bowen wasn’t tested on the most important things Wabash taught him until years after he graduated.

Bowen, a retired lawyer, worked as a partner at Latham and Watkins, which had offices on several floors of the former Sears Tower in Chicago. After Sept. 11, 2001, workers inside Sears Tower knew that they, as well, were a skyscraping target. Far too often, police had to be called to inspect packages that had been delivered to the building. It was better to be safe than sorry. Everyone in that building knew what sorry could look like.

No exam Bowen had ever taken at Wabash could prepare him for the task at hand: to calmly lead his law firm in those next days and try to subside some of the fears that haunted the people around him.

Instead, it was the Wabash College mission statement that guided his every move: think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely. He didn’t have to pause and try to recall those lessons; they were part of who he was.

“I do not think they can be taught,” Bowen said, “but you will acquire these habits. Not because they are taught, but because they will emerge from close reading of texts, from disciplined research and writing, from active participation in classroom discussions and activities, and from helpful guidance given by many, especially by faculty.”

That’s why, he said, he doesn’t feel like he had any fewer opportunities as a Wabash graduate 48 years ago than the students do now. Sure, there are more programs, a larger alumni network, and state-of-the-art experiences.

Those things don’t make a Wabash man. As hard as it may be to comprehend just a few days before finals begin, Wabash College has far more to teach its students than what they’ll be tested on next week.

“Wabash, at its core, is always Wabash,’ Bowen said. “It is a place where students are drawn into a vast world of ideas; where students are taught in edifying, informative and rigorous ways; and where students acquire not only a love of learning, but the habits of mind and heart essential to a life well lived.”

Think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.

“If you acquire these habits,” he said, “the success, the fame, and the honors will take care of themselves. Good luck on your finals.”


“Old Wabash”: History of a school and its song

Dr. Richard Bowen leads the Wabash College Glee Club in singing an early version of "Old Wabash."

Dr. Richard Bowen leads the Wabash College Glee Club in singing an early version of “Old Wabash.”

“From the hills of Maine to the Western plain, or where the cotton is blowing;
from the gloomy shade of the northern pine, to the light of the southern seas…”

And so it goes.

It’s a tune that can flow out of the mouths of students and alumni without hesitation. But, interestingly enough, that familiar tune is not the original.

Dr. Richard Bowen, Glee Club Director and Assistant Professor of Music, did some research over the past several weeks and, with the help of the Wabash College Glee Club, shared some of the song’s secrets at his Chapel Talk on Thursday, “Will the Real ‘Old Wabash’ Please Stand Up: Reflections and Revelations Regarding Wabash’s Favorite Song.”

Bowen said that when he announced his Chapel Talk title to the Glee Club, he was not prepared for their reaction, which was, “Wow! We didn’t know you were so hip Dr. Bowen.”

“Really? I’m hip?” he asked.

“Yeah, you lifted your title from Eminem,” they responded.

Bowen shared that he had no idea what they were talking about, and just like that, he wasn’t so hip.

But unlike “Slim Shady,” there aren’t necessarily imitations of our current “Old Wabash.” There is one version written sometime in 1896 that is very different from today’s, which was written around 1900, yet this one was also titled “Old Wabash.”

The 1896 version has no known author, but, Bowen asked, “Is this the real ‘Old Wabash?’”

“Such a claim, however, fails on two accounts,” Bowen explained. “It did not capture enough attention to ensure widespread performance, and it was not designated as the official song.”

Bowen and the Glee Club sing today's version of "Old Wabash."

Bowen and the Glee Club sing today’s version of “Old Wabash.”

That designation went to Carroll Ragan and Edwin Meade Robinson’s version, which is similar to the song that is sung today. But not exactly.

Ragan originally composed the music to be a played as a concert band march for former Wabash President William Patterson Kane’s inauguration in 1900. But then the school offered $50 (which was a lot back then) to whomever could write a new school song. So Ragan gave the music to Robinson, who wrote the lyrics to “Old Wabash.”

Generally, words come first in songwriting. And if they don’t, normally the composer knows the music will be partnered with vocals. Since this was not the case, Robinson had a difficult time finding a proper flow for the lyrics. Despite later admitting parts of the song were rough and awkward, it must’ve impressed Wabash because his words live on.

“Old Wabash” was originally composed in the key of E flat, which gave it a range similar to the “Star-Spangled Banner.” It also had a two-step style to it because of the march it was originally composed to be.

Because of its difficulty, the song’s key was lowered in 1915 and the style was changed to swing. In 1970, a tenor descant was added, while revisions to the piano accompaniment were made in recent years.

“‘Old Wabash’ continues to evolve,” Bowen said. “Does ‘Old Wabash’ sound the same today as it did in 1900? Certainly not. In the future year of 2082, will ‘Old Wabash’ sound exactly the same as it does today? I kind of doubt it.

“Is ‘Old Wabash’ a better song today than it was 116 years ago?” Bowen asked. “My answer is a resounding yes. ‘Old Wabash’ remains today a vibrant, relevant, almost-living organism that continues to occupy a vital place in the larger life of Wabash College. If it had not changed, I wonder if we would still be singing it?”


Competing for a Greater Cause

Christina Franks – On Saturday, the Little Giants will fight to keep the Monon Bell for the eighth year in a row. But on Tuesday, the Wabash community came together to help people who are fighting for their lives.

Aaron Stewart-Curet '17 donates blood regularly, but the rivalry "Bleed for the Bell" incorporates makes it a little more fun.

Aaron Stewart-Curet ’17 donates blood regularly, but the rivalry “Bleed for the Bell” incorporates makes it a little more fun.

Every year during Monon Bell Week, Alpha Phi Omega puts together a campus blood drive or “Bleed for the Bell.” And keeping true to the spirit of the week, DePauw hosts the same event on their campus, and it turns into a competition for a great cause.

“Yes, it’s really cool that we could beat the school down south in donations,” Nicholas Morin ’18 said. “But at the same time, what it comes down to is helping people out.”

As Alpha Phi Omega Vice President of Service, Morin is the coordinator for this year’s event and loves the idea of giving back in such a big way in a small amount of time.

Last year, 96 people showed up to donate blood during “Bleed for the Bell.” Morin’s goal this year was to reach 100 donors.

“Every pint donated is three lives saved,” he said. “If we have 100 donors, that’s 300 lives. Wabash can make a difference.”

Students, staff, and faculty filed into Knowling Fieldhouse throughout the day. Some of the students had never given blood before and thought this would be the best opportunity. For others, the fact that this was a competition against DePauw just made their regular habit of giving that much better.

Robert Reed ’19, who had given blood before believes the concept of “Bleed for the Bell” with DePauw during Monon Bell Week says a lot about the character of the two schools. “Getting both the schools together and doing this all as a group says something not just about ourselves but us as a group,” he said, “that we can come together for something bigger, which I like.”

Workers saw a steady stream of donors throughout the day and, for the most part, were able to get students into chairs and on their way fairly quickly.

“It’s always beneficial,” Tim Riley ’19 said. “Blood banks always seem to be short, and it’s something we can easily do with about half an hour of our time.”

To which another donor quickly pointed out:

“And it’s one more way to beat DePauw.”


Puzzled by a crossword? Look to math.

Christina Franks — A crossword puzzle is solved one word at a time. Letter by letter, the answers start coming together. And with more letters comes more answers. How do we know? Math.

Crosswords vary in their degree of difficulty, so under what conditions can that person expect to be able to complete solve a puzzle?

Dr. John McSweeney of the Mathematics Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology set out to find that answer a while ago and shared his findings with Wabash students and faculty on Tuesday.

crosswordsWhat McSweeney was able to prove was that, dependent on a puzzle’s difficulty level, there is a certain number of letters from clues that, once obtained, will make a crossword puzzle almost completely solvable.

“Mathematics is really not about numbers – it’s about patterns,” Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Emeritus David Maharry said. “And a crossword puzzle has huge patterns in it once you start looking.”

The graphs McSweeney used also showed the initial qualities of a puzzle can be so random that a person, even if he or she is not great at solving the crossword one day, the next day might be better. Even if the crossword puzzles are of the same difficulty level, if that person is able to figure out more clues or the letter arrangements make a bit more sense, McSweeney’s research shows that the second day’s puzzle just might go smoother than the last.

McSweeney used crossword puzzles from the New York Times, where Crawfordsville native and 2010 honorary Wabash graduate Will Shortz serves as the crossword puzzle editor. He graduated from Indiana University with the nation’s only degree in Enigmatology, and just a few years later, at age 25, Shortz founded the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

So if math has shown that once a person gets a certain amount of letters a puzzle becomes completely solvable, Shortz might have to start making sure the Times’ crosswords are even more puzzling.


A Story, a Stage, a Starring Role

Richard Paige — Sometimes, it’s just meant to be, and so it was with the upcoming production of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Wabash College is the first collegiate theater company in Indiana to produce the show on campus. The rights for the play that won five Tony Awards came open this year, and Assistant Professor of Theater Jessie Mills acted fast.

“I’ve had my eye on it for a while so we scooped it up when we had the chance,” she said. “Needless to say, I thought it would be a lot of fun for our students and a big change of pace.”

Rory Willats '17 during a recent dress rehearsal.

Rory Willats ’17 during a recent dress rehearsal.

As it turns out, Mills also had someone in mind to play the boy who never grew up, one best suited to handle the ragged and chaotic style that has become this musical play’s calling card.

Rory Willats ’17 is just that guy. He is no stranger to the Wabash stage, having occupied supporting roles in more than a handful of Wabash productions, but Peter and the Starcatcher will be his first leading role.

“I really think this is a role perfectly suited to me,” Willats said, “which is not to say that this process is a walk in the park by any means. Because it’s a high-energy, physical show and because there are parts of the boy I can see in myself, it isn’t at all easy for me. It’s also the first time in my career that I’m able to wrestle with a role in a show like this.”

The curtain rises on Peter and the Starcatcher on Oct. 5, and Mills is confident that Rory will inject something new into the prequel of Peter Pan, a story which nearly everyone is familiar.

“He is perfect in the role of Peter – a character who is as boyish and optimistic as he is frightened and vulnerable,” said Mills. “Rory has done a wonderful job pulling out the depth of complexities in Peter. I’m excited for audiences to see his performance.”


A Great Little Gem

Richard Paige — Even historical footnotes are memorable.

Late in the fourth quarter of Wabash’s 59-7 win over Allegheny on Sept. 17, a 5-foot-9 sophomore running back trotted onto the field for his first collegiate game action. His first carry netted a one-yard gain.

This particular back, Austin Hoover, was a good high school player, rushing for better than 2,600 yards as a senior at Sheridan (IN) High School. He’s been a hard worker at Wabash who shows up every day hoping to make himself and his teammates a little better.

Austin Hoover '19.

Austin Hoover ’19.

“I just set my mind to help out whoever is playing,” Hoover said. “If I’m on scout team that week, I’m going to do my best to make sure they get the best looks. If I get some reps on offense, I’m going to make those count. I’m making sure everything in practice counts in one way or another to help during the game.”

Three carries later, Hoover took the ball at the Wabash 32 yard-line and burst into the clear for a 47-yard gain, helping the Little Giants to a big piece of history. His scamper was the one that broke the single-game rushing record, originally set in 1975. Wabash ended the day with a whopping 513 yards on the ground.

“There was no better guy to set the school record than Austin Hoover,” said Wabash head coach Don Morel.

So what’s it feel like break off a big run where there is nothing in front of you but turf and the end zone?

Six of the guys pictured here helped Wabash rush for 513 yards on Sept. 17. Pictured above are (l to r): Bobby Blum '19; Tyler Downing '18; Isaac Avant '20; Shamir Johnson '17; Assistant Coach/RBs Darold Hughes; Matt Penola '19; Cam Morgan '20; Austin Hoover '19; and Lamore Boudoin '20.

Six of the guys pictured here helped Wabash rush for 513 yards on Sept. 17. Pictured above are (l to r): Bobby Blum ’19; Tyler Downing ’18; Isaac Avant ’20; Shamir Johnson ’17; Assistant Coach/RBs Darold Hughes; Matt Penola ’19; Cam Morgan ’20; Austin Hoover ’19; and Lamore Boudoin ’20.

“It’s a good feeling to know that you are getting open, but there is anxiety there as well that there could be someone coming up on you,” said Hoover, who finished the game with 57 yards rushing on four carries. “My thought process was ‘I am going to score in this play. I’m going for it.’”

While he was tripped up shy of the goal line, Hoover realized his carry was the record breaker just like everyone else: when it was announced to the stadium.

“When they announced it over the P.A., I kind of put two and two together that my run put it over,” he laughed. “It’s a good feeling to know that I was a part of the record breaking. Obviously, I wouldn’t be a part of it if it wasn’t for the other five backs who contributed.”

Coach Morel was all smiles while reviewing film two days later.

“Those guys down the depth chart, they practice hard and they really play hard when they get a chance,” said Morel. “A story like Hoover’s, it’s a great little gem.”


Wirtz ’19: The Summer of the Drinking Bird

The office developed an uncanny fascination for this toy bird in June.

The office developed a slightly peculiar obsession with the drinking bird toy.

Christian Wirtz ’19 – I don’t want to give away any of the secrets hidden within the walls of Hovey Cottage. But if you’re looking for them, I would start behind the cardboard reindeer’s head in the common space.

We’re a bit quirky.

I applied for a summer position because I needed something to do; and money, I really need money. I applied for a summer position in Hovey because that’s where I do my office work for Brent Harris when I have Game Day Staff responsibilities outside of Mud Hollow, Little Giant Stadium, Chadwick Court, or Goodrich Ballpark.

Wirtz '19

Wirtz ’19

I may have needed something to do, but what I got and continue to get is professional development in an office filled to the brim with wonderful people who are great to work with.

While working with Steve Charles, I’ve had the chance to tell the story of my formative years as a young soccer player and the importance of the people I met along the way. It started off as the story of how I played soccer, it became the story of how the people I met changed my life. Steve and I both learned how divine printer intervention can lead to a new way of telling a story. But I’ve also learned how to write more concisely, which was something I have always struggled with and will, in addition, help my academic writing.

Working in the Communications Office has also exposed some of my weaknesses and has at least presented the opportunity to get better. The one that stand out most is my interview skills. I’m not good at conducting interviews; I always feel like my questions don’t make sense or that I’m going to forget to ask an important question. I get really self-conscious; it’s who I am. Richard Paige has assured me that the person I interview will be more nervous than I will.

“You know what you’re going to ask — they don’t,” he told me, “they’re just as worried about saying something stupid as you are.”

Likely the most intriguing yet frustrating project I’ve worked on is historical sports results. I started with football and now I’m working on soccer for the 50th anniversary season. Intriguing because I think it’s fun to learn about the backstory of over 100 years of Wabash athletics (and when we’ve beaten DePauw, most importantly). This has been easily one of the most frustrating projects I’ve ever done. Record-keeping, especially for soccer in the 80s is lacking. Where and when were games played? I don’t know, but I could tell you the score. So Brent Harris and I are now in the process of researching microfilm in the Crawfordsville library in hopes of finding schedules.

If I had to point at one thing and say “this is the best part of spending a summer in Hovey,” I would say that it’s my professional development. I’m working an almost full-time schedule and I’m working on a variety of different projects that (usually) engage my mind and my interests. I’ve been given the chance to give input and thoughts on recruitment pieces. Most college students wouldn’t spend the summer between their freshman and sophomore years at an ordinary school; but then, I’m not most and Wabash transcends normality.


Petty Reflects on Pat Summitt’s Impact

Howard W. Hewitt – Former Wabash College basketball Coach Mac Petty believes Pat Summit may have had an accomplishment few men coaches ever achieve. Her success forced the university to build a better and bigger arena.

Legendary Coach Pat Summitt.

Legendary Coach Pat Summitt.

Summit, 64, died Tuesday morning after a much-publicized bout with Alzheimer’s. Summitt had more wins, 1,098, during her career than any coach – men or women. She won eight national NCAA championships in 38 seasons.

Petty is a 1968 graduate from the University of Tennessee. He did not personally know Summitt, she was seven years younger. But he did have thoughts on her significant career.

“The arena where they play now was probably built because of her success, not necessarily the men,” Petty said. “The men’s program wasn’t as successful during her early times there. We played in a facility that was brand new my last two years.

“It was a nice place to play but the fans were too far away from the floor. The facility was built for indoor track also. It was called the Stokely Athletic Center. With Pat’s success and Bruce Pearl, the men’s coach at the time, the new Thompson – Boling Arena was built. They had to compete with Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.”

When Summitt first started coaching Petty was in his final tenure at Sewanee, the 1975-76 season. Petty retired from Wabash in 2011 after 35 seasons and a DIII National Championship season in 1982. He is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I wish I had gotten to meet her, ” Petty said. “She did an outstanding job.”

A private family service is planned in Knoxville. A memorial service will be held at the Thompson-Boling Arena.


House ’16 Reflects on Interesting Ride

Richard Paige –In my three years on campus, Fabian House, as much as anyone, has been the face of Wabash College. The guy, like many here, is involved in seemingly everything: resident assistant, orientation leader, vice president of the student senate, student representative to the NAWM board, member of the Little Giant cross country and track and field programs, and a tour guide for Admissions.

Between the official and more informal tours, Fabian thinks he’s led more than 500 tours over the last three and a half years. Just think of how many future Wabash men’s first impressions were shaped by Fabian. Those tours are the primary reason I think of him as the current face of the College.

Fabian House '16

Fabian House ’16

With final exams complete and Commencement a few days away, I thought it would be interesting to see how Fabian, who will teach on the east side of Indianapolis next year, felt about his time on campus and the impacts he’s had. Below are his thoughts in his own words:

“I don’t feel like I’m done. I get the feeling that all of this is another step. I’m going to be off campus. I won’t be seeing the same sights here on campus that I’ve grown used to, like the tulip tree just outside Center Hall, and in the winter, the Milligan Clock beside Baxter Hall. I’m looking forward to being an alum, to being an ambassador for Wabash in a different way. I’m not going to be giving tours per se, I’m going to miss that for sure, but I hope, as a teacher working in the Indy area, that I’ll be able to at least guide students this way and make them seriously consider an all-male institution.”

“One of the biggest things I’m going to miss is fall at Wabash. The fall months are gorgeous, the leaves change, and so that is a beautiful moment for Wabash. I’m going to miss the Monon Bell Chapel, where the seniors talk about these formative years and how important it is to keep the Bell. I’m going to miss cross country and running on a team where we try to peak and run our best when it gets cold in the fall. Defending our regional championship this past season was probably my best athletic moment at Wabash. I’m going to miss Honor Scholarship Weekend as well. It’s a big introduction to Wabash – one I had and enjoyed – and is something that we’ve made very much a campus moment. Everyone knows what Honor Scholar is all about and everyone is excited for it.”

“At the banquet, they thanked me for my three and a half years of service and said I have given over 350 official tours on campus. That doesn’t count all of the unofficial tours I’ve given. I gave my last tour last Wednesday (April 27) and it was a really cool moment because I wasn’t going to tell the folks that it was my last tour. I told my first tour that it was because I felt like I needed to let them know that it was going to be an interesting ride. My last one was really special. After the son went into class, the parents thanked me, which happens occasionally, and said, ‘you said a lot of things and answered a lot of questions that made Wabash feel like a place that he would want to go.’ I got a little tearful. It’s my last tour and I get folks telling me that I gave a tour that made Wabash seem like an accessible place for their son. That’s how I want every tour to be. It’s not how many tours you give, it’s the impact you had in that 45 minutes you are with them.”

Fall and Honor Scholarship Weekend are just two of the things House will miss about Wabash.

Fall and Honor Scholarship Weekend are just two of the things House will miss about Wabash.

“I can’t imagine myself doing anything else right out of college other than teaching (in Indianapolis for Indiana Teaching Fellows). I’m happy that I’ll be close. I’m going to know guys in the next three graduating classes – guys I gave tours to, guys that I’ve come to know through classes. I don’t think you really are finally able to call yourself an alum and fully disconnect from Wabash as a student until you are able to look at a graduating class and know that you didn’t go to class with any of them. In many ways I still feel very connected to campus and the day-to-day activities.”

“At no one point do you think that you’re done. It won’t hit me until the summer that I’m a Wabash graduate.”


Wear Blue Support Youth Services

Derek Andre ’16 – Child abuse is no joke. In 2014, twelve out of every 1000 children in Montgomery County experienced some form of abuse or neglect. That is a nearly 14 percent increase over 2013. A  group of Wabash students will try Friday to make that statistic better known.

As part National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Wabash will play host to day of awareness for child abuse and neglect. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to wear blue this Friday in an effort to raise awareness and to wear blue pinwheels to show solidarity with victims. The project, spearheaded by senior Ty Campbell, is the culmination of several weeks of work and conversation between Campbell and the Montgomery County Youth Services Bureau.

Pinwheels“We’re trying to promote child abuse awareness,” Campbell said. “To do that, the Youth Service Bureau in town asked members to wear blue on that day, the symbol of Child Abuse Awareness Month, and to wear blue pinwheels from their office. It got sent out in an email to some volunteers and I reached out to [Karen Branch, Youth Services Bureau Director] and said I’d like to do this and I think my fraternity would as well. We were talking and I thought I may as well try and get the other living units and fraternities involved, see if we can make this a campus-wide thing.”

Campbell’s first interaction with the Youth Services Bureau came last summer as part of an internship. He spent the summer working with the Bureau and later became involved with the YSB’s CASA program, an effort to represent children in child and family cases. The CASA program gave Campbell an insight into child abuse and neglect cases.

“When I interned, I learned about the [Court Appointed Special Advocate] program,” Campbell said. “We were at a team meeting when the CASA program got brought up and that’s how I got involved in that program. This side project is involved with CASA, a program that helps with ‘child in need of services’ cases, so the two are sort of combined.”

The Youth Services Bureau deals with child abuse and neglect cases across Montgomery County. Youth Services Bureau Direct Karen Branch hopes awareness projects can help raise knowledge about abuses children in the community face daily.

“Sometimes they are people who lack knowledge, coping skills or a support system to help them when raising a child becomes difficult,” Branch said. “It is not a justification of their actions, but pointing out that there are stress factors in family life that may contribute to the abuse and neglect that children suffer.  Factors like insufficient income, unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence.

“To help prevent abuse we need to help reduce these risk factors in our community.  From something as simple as offering to babysit for a child whose parent is stressed and overwhelmed, to supporting services and organizations that support our families and youth, every one of us can make a difference.”

Campbell

Campbell

For Campbell, this project is, in many ways, the culmination of four years at Wabash. After internships, immersion experiences, classes, and more, Campbell is glad that a project dear to his heart can be his last contribution to the Wabash community.

“With going to the Peace Corps next year and the humanitarian nature of that, a lot of that was shaped through my internship last summer,” Campbell said. “A lot of what I learned about community engagement and how to use your resources correctly came through Karen, who was my boss at the Youth Services Bureau. Right now, it’s all coming together, and I’d like this to be my last big thing here.”

Wabash students, faculty, staff, and administration are encouraged to wear blue Friday in recognition of childhood abuse and neglect. There will be a photo taken at 12:10 p.m. on the Chapel steps of all members of the Wabash community who participate.



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