Lou Ristine and Bill Bonifield

This past Saturday, I attended the Memorial Service for Lou Ristine.  Lou passed away earlier in July.  Lou and Dick Ristine are Wabash College and Indiana legends.

The service was spot on – tough to do when there’s so much to celebrate and remember…balanced by the big loss so many feel.  There was a great balance between genuine laughter and quiet reflection.

My favorite memory comes from my high school days here.  I was in a band with Tom Ristine ’72 and his parents would allow us to practice in their family room – how they put up with that noise is beyond me.

At the reception following the Service, I had a chance to talk with Professor Bill Bonifield.  Bill was a economics professor here from 1964 to 1980.  I hadn’t seen him in 43 years.  I wasn’t shy – I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to thank him.  You see, I think I took every econ. class Bill taught…at least in my days.  He was a great teacher and he brought the best out of this mediocre student.  I told him that.  He didn’t remember me (why should he?) but I felt good telling him he had an impact on my life that still exists.  I didn’t want to miss the opportunity – he turns 80 this year…and my warranty ran out a long time ago.

As my son Chris often says these days: “Dad, time is not on your side.”


51 Days To Go…like waiting for Christmas!


51 days…mark your calendars…September 6, 2014.  The Tigers of Hampden-Sydney will be at Hollett Little Giant Stadium for a rare first in our history.

Unfortunately, CP Porter won’t be running the ball – what a great young man!  However, Coach Raeburn will have the guys raring to go as we start right out with a team that ranked in the Top 25 last year and starts the season there as well.

The fall is always great here and football just adds the icing to the cake.

The Grunge’s stars are really aligned this year.  For almost a year I’ve had a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike scheduled to start on September 9th…so it’s Wabash football…Grand Canyon hike…bye week…and back to football.  The only thing I have to worry about is getting out of the Canyon!

Are you ready for some football?

You Better Sit Down!


The Chapel

So, we’re about at that time of the year when we start thinking about the fall.  And that means Wabash football and, of course, the guys back on campus.

The “guys on campus” will include about 260 or so members of the Freshman Class.

They are – wait for it – the men of the Class of 2018.  What does that mean?

-  They were born in 1996 or so.  Their first memories are probably dated 200X.

-  A flip phone fits the same category as a rotary dial – ancient

-  The “Miracle Catch” in the Bell game happened when they were…in kindergarden.

-  The guys were around six years old when we dedicated the Allen Center.

-  Was there a color TV before flat screen HD?  They wouldn’t know. (Don’t even ask about black and white.)

-  A slide rule is something you see at the Smithsonian…right next to the programmable calculator.

-  Those cars some people call muscle cars reside in old folks’ garages.

But, they’ll be here in a few short weeks and the Wabash faculty will begin their magic!  Can’t wait.


A Great Find For Wabash!

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Dean Michelle Janssen

On August 1, 2014, we’ll welcome Michelle Janssen as Wabash’s new Dean for College Advancement.  You can read the official story here.

Here’s the Grunge’s report.

I traveled to Valpo some years ago with Joe Klen and a few other folks from the College.  Valpo was setting the gold standard on some database conversion work and we wanted to “benchmark” with them.  Dick Maddox, a Wabash Dad, was their VP for Advancement and Michelle was their director of development.  We focused on database, for sure, but I came away with a real sense that their major gifts effort was also a gold standard.  Michelle was leading that effort.

Fast forward to 2014.  Michelle takes over as our Dean.  College for men – woman as our chief fundraiser.  Some might question it.  Makes perfect sense to me.

Wabash is a place that gets into your blood and Michelle gets it – she got it several years ago.  She gets it the way Fran Hollett, Ginny Hays, Lou Ristine, Anne Ford, Melissa Butler, Kay Widdows, Laura Wysocki, Sara Drury, Alison Kothe, Nancy Doemel, Sherry Ross, and Carol Runge get it.  Several of those ladies are legendary here.  ALL of them absolutely believe in this good place.

Michelle truly believes in what we are doing for young men and as such for the rest of humanity.  Will she be an agent of change?  Yes.  Will she shake things up?  Definitely.  Will it be good for all of us?  Absolutely!

President Greg Hess has jumped in with both feet and I think he’s found a Dean that will be a perfect fit for his “West Coast Offense”.


Back To Grunge


The Disney Wonder

And ever so quickly, the Grunge is back at the desk.  The Alaskan Cruise in is the history books – if you have never been…go!  It was phenomenal!!!

I’m getting through the email machine now – way too expensive to go through out at sea or in Canada – so I didn’t.  I’ll get to your emails as quickly as I can, I promise.

Yes, you may have to endure a photo or two in the meantime.


Grunge to Ga’Bunge

Center Hall-2370

Iconic Center Hall

It’s that time of the year again (not the end of the fiscal year – already covered that one. BTW – are you on the Honor Roll?)

The Runge clan tradition is a July 4th get together somewhere…

This year the centerpiece will be a Disney cruise on the “Wonder” (I am the guy down on the corner of Pike and Washington selling pencils later today!!!)

That will follow 3 days of sightseeing in Vancouver, CA.  Temperatures up that way just a tad bit cooler than down here.

Are we excited?  Sure.

The crew totals 16…including 6 adults.  That leaves almost a football team at or under 16 years old.  I gave up on 5-Hour Energy….looking for the 5-Day version.

So, you may get a short post or two from GaBunge while I’m out and about.

New year pledge is to do a much better job of keeping the Report current…  If I can’t we’ll just close her down.  I haven’t bee very good with posting lately – fully realize that.



The Disney Wonder

Wabash Honor Roll – Hope To See You There

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a hot, hazy day on campus…summer has finally set in.  Temp trying to get to 90…humidity seemingly helping it along.  Pretty quiet on campus…for the most part…

For those of us in Advancement, it’s a busy time.  For our students off campus, it’s a busy time as well.

Interested in reading about our students and…

Immersion trips?  Click here.

Internships and Summer Business Programs?  Click here.

Glee Club trip to Ecuador?  Click here.

They are all great opportunities for our young men.  Brought to them by?  You guessed it – your support of Wabash.

These life-changing opportunities don’t grow on trees – they are here because you and many others care about Wabash and her students.

It’s that time of the year again – the end of the fiscal year (June 30).  I hope I can find your name on the Honor Roll – it’s right here.

If it’s not there yet, no sweat.  You can fix that.  Simply click here and make an on-line gift.  It’s easy.  Can’t give a lot right now?  No sweat.  Simply set up a credit card payment.  Think about it.  For $8.34 a month, (a TWR or two) you make a $100.00 a year gift to Wabash.  I’ll bet you won’t miss that $8.34…

But your gift WILL make a difference to Wabash…as part of a scholarship, financial aid, an immersion trip, etc.  The Annual Fund helps do all of it…

I hope you’ll join me.  This good place changes lives and you can be one of those change agents.  Tell them the Grunge sent you.


The Way We Were – 2009


Beta House – June 6, 2014

I was making my way back to the office on Friday of the Big Bash and it looked like Commencement Week, 2009, all over again.  Five Betas from the Class of 2009 we taking it all in…  The agenda, it seems, was exactly what a reunion agenda should be: Take it all in.  Celebrate friendships with life-long friends.  Relive and remember.  If the fuel for such an event is TWR – that’s OK.

The smiles say it all, I think.


TKE House – June 7, 2014

Fast forward almost exactly 24 hours…

I rounded the corner to check on the TKE house setup for dinner. The same scene replayed by the guys from 2009.  Different five guys…different fraternity house…same exact experiences.

Wabash = Their Home.  For Life.

Peeling the Big Bash Onion


I’ve never thought of the Big Bash as an onion.  I know that some of our attendees wake up feeling like they chewed on several onions…but that’s another story for another time.  In reality, when you peel it all away, the Big Bash is a summer afternoon spent on the porch catching up with your friends.  We just stretch that over two and a half days so more friends can get on the porch.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  We have tried to fine-tune programming that keeps you moving and offers you the chance to mingle with others.  Think of it this way – we give you a reason to move from the front porch…to the side porch…to the back porch…to your friend’s porch.  You decide how quickly you want to move and select the other porches you visit.  We try to keep you nourished and hydrated. (You can insert your favorite TWR quip right here.)


We hope you’ll always stop by …as President Hess told you, this is your home.




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