Jon Pactor is…60!!!

Last Sunday, Trudy and Brad Johnson ’71 threw a birthday party for the ubiquitous Jon Pactor ’71 (pictured above). Jon turned 60 on December 29, 2008.

Of course, I must point out that Brad and I are much younger…we won’t hit that “magic” number until 2009. There’s no truth to the rumor that Jon was held back in Kindergarten. Jon may be 60, but at latest count he’s down 47 (pounds, that is!)

For those of you who know Jon Pactor, it’s his picture on the page of your Funk and Wagnall’s that includes the entry for “Wabash College alumnus.” For those of you (might be a couple out there) who haven’t met Jon, you will.

As you might expect, Jon appeared Sunday at the Johnson’s wearing a Wabash TKE shirt, a Wabash red sweater, and the ever-present Wabash Day hat. Somewhere along the line Brad, Jon, and I talked about their efforts as chapter advisors to the current TKE students. I imagined out loud how much attention the three of us might have paid in our day to a bunch of 60 year old alumni. Not a lot, I stated. However, Brad and Jon are powerful voices and difference makers and, despite their age difference, our students know these guys care.

Where have those years gone, anyway. Why, just yesterday…

For Those Last Minute Gifts…

Trying to make your 2008 year-end gift before the stroke of midnight?

Go on-line. It’s secure. It’s simple. You get the cash back rewards, the airline miles, the bonus points.

Wabash students get your support.

That’s win-win. Please note, if making a gift by credit card, you will need to make your credit card gift online by 12/31 in order to receive IRS credit for a gift in 2008.

You may also mail your 2008 year-end gift by sending a check to Wabash College, ATTN: Annual Giving, P.O. Box 352, Crawfordsville, IN 47933. If you mail your gift, it will need to be postmarked “December 31, 2008” in order for you to receive credit for a gift in the 2008 calendar year.

I’m in…are you?

Thanks…and Happy New Year!

I couldn't say it better…

This blog entry comes from Jay Fisher ’66, past president of our alumni board. I couldn’t say it any better…

“This Christmas, my brother Jeff, Class of ’76, and his family were visiting with Marty and me and our family. As you might expect, we were discussing the general plight of the economy and the financial uncertainty which calls for prudence in direction. This uncertainty can paralyze a person in the short term with unintended longer term impact. Into the third TWR that was our thoughtful conclusion. Just then his son, Jake, walked into the room. Jake had just been accepted early admission to Wabash for the Class of 2013 and was pretty proud (He already knew we were.) In applying this “short term/long term” analysis, we observed that Wabash had provided and is providing the Geneses of the solid foundation for progressing in each of our professions, our families, and our communities.

Significantly, both of us received our Wabash benefit because others before us provided for our financial aid need. Now we are two generations deep with the third generation of grandsons standing in the wings (more like wobbling at this time … but learning to stand). Again the “short term/long term” impact. Someone(s) short term understood the value of their help to Wabash with its longer term impact we experienced and are experiencing.

So, as the new year begins, we all need to assess our short term responsibility … just give what you can. If you are one of the lucky ‘Bashers who can give a little more … now is the time … to pick up the slack for some of our Little Giants brothers who must focus their financial bullets elsewhere short term. Provide some short term leadership for the long term impact. Wabash … in these times … now more than ever. This is not a cliche. This is for the longer term Wabash and for the “wobblers” who are just now starting to stand. I believe in a general sense (and from my experience personally know ) we owe no less. Fail now short term, and the longer term opportunity dims. So I urge you to think about it and give what you can large, small, one time, from month to month … as you can. This urge is from someone who is not a Wabash fundraiser but a Wabash beneficiary: help now in the short term for the long term Wabash opportunity as we know it and want it to be. It won’t be easy … it will be worth it.”

Photo – Jay Fisher ’66 serving as alumni board president.

This Good Place…

Took this photo early one morning…the same day they put the Christmas decorations on the front sign. I arrived a little early, I guess.

Bill Cook ’66, on campus for this year as the sabbatical replacement for Bill Placher, gave the invocation at the 2008 Homecoming Chapel. In that invocation, he used the term “this good place” to describe Wabash. His words have been rolling around in my mind ever since. Not earth shattering, of course, but it was just the way he said it. It’s as if someone just described their favorite restaurant, or get-away location, and asked that you keep it a secret.

I took Bill’s words to mean Wabash is a good place and a place of good. I wasn’t the least bit put off that he didn’t use great. Great is great…but might be over the top. Good is, well, a “B” shooting for an “A”. ‘Been there! Bill didn’t say “this good college” and I believe it’s because Wabash is much more than a college. It’s a place. Our place.

Our place is good. Our place does good. Our place creates good.

The real key, I think, is that there is an honest effort, on the part of the entire Wabash community, to be better today than we were yesterday. And, of course, to be better tomorrow than our best today.

Do we have warts? Sure. Bumps? Sure. Blemishes? You bet. Do we look in the mirror and walk away satisfied? I hope never.

So, during the season of giving I hope you’ll consider “this good place”. I know you have many worthy causes you have the potential to support now and throughout the year. Pause though and remind yourself of the good of Wabash and the good brought to you by all that is the experience Wabash. It’s good…and will be better.

Please, please consider investing in this good place.

Happy Holidays from the Grunge and Carol. Tonight, Grunge will make the transition to GaBunge and Carol to Nana. We hope to do some good…for our children and grandchildren. And I’ll see you in the New Year, if not before.

Footnote: Two years ago, over New Years Eve weekend, I had prostate cancer surgery (I know, too much info.) Today I am fine, minus prostate. Wabash men, do me a favor. Get your PSA tested. Simple. Easy. Low cost. Trey Holland ’71, my classmate and doc, and a simple blood test saved my life. Make this a new year’s resolution…please. Prostate cancer, in this day and age, should not kill anyone.

Bob Quirk '50 – Another Author

Bob Quirk ’50 is the author of a couple of books he calls “Real American Stories”. They’re very interesting reads, covering a wide range of subjects from the the Civil War to sports.

In one of the books, Bob describes his Wabash “application process”. Graduating from high school in 1945, he didn’t make college plans. When the war ended he and his parents decided to travel to Crawfordsville (from Wingate) to see Wabash. They sat down with Bob Harvey and talked about the possibility of attending the college. After discussing Wabash, Harvey told Bob that he should be heading to class (they visited on the first day of class) and Harvey penciled together a schedule.

From campus visit to attending class in a matter of hours! Bob says in his book: “I don’t think that would work today…

Bob – you’re probably right!

Photo: Bob Quirk autographing a copy of one of his books.

Tim Guiden '82 – Also an Author

Tim Guiden ’82 stopped by last Thursday. He was in the area on business in his role as director of Admissions, Marketing, PR, and Alumni Relations (whew!) for St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mount Calvary, WI. Tim was also here to visit his son who is a student at Wabash.

Tim graduated from St. Lawrence in 1978 and then came to Wabash. Following Wabash he pursued a law degree and became a very successful Staff Judge Advocate (Air Force lawyer) retiring as a Colonel.

Life after the Air Force called him back to his educational roots. For some reason, that sounds familiar!

Tim and I have talked over the years. (Unique because pilots don’t like to talk to Air Force doctors or lawyers!) When Tim visited this time, he dropped off a book he has written – Journey for the Soul. It’s written as a daily devotional. He asked me to take it by the Bookstore. I told him I would…but it might be a little dog-eared when it got there.

I wasn’t surprised at all that Tim has many talents – he’s a Wabash man. I didn’t expect him to be an author, but I wasn’t shocked either.

These Wabash men – certainly an interesting, talented, and diverse group!

Bet You Can't "Out Wabash" John Goodrich!

Pictured are John Goodrich ’67 and his family on the family Christmas card, 2008 edition. John’s classmate Phil Coons sent me the photo. John is, as you might believe, a Wally though and through.

Rumor has it he’s set to receive the 2008 Wabash College Bookstore Customer of the Year award. By the looks of it, I don’t doubt it one bit.

Peter Pactor – New Hip and Top Notch Care

My friend Peter Pactor ’65, a legendary teacher at Nolan Catholic in Ft. Worth, Texas, recently underwent hip replacement surgery. As with virtually everyone whose had the surgery, he reports: ” I should have done this a long time ago…” Peter’s well on his way to recovery, but at age 65, recovery takes a little longer than it used to take.

Enter Wabash alumni, friends, and fellow Nolan Catholic teachers Gabe Duarte ’02 (right) and Josh Jones ’07 (left) pictured here. Gabe and Josh have been taking turns staying with Peter as he recovers.

When Peter called me last week, he couldn’t have sounded better or been more thankful for the kindness and generosity of Gabe and Josh.

Oh, and did I mention Peter had a hand in both Gabe and Josh attending Wabash?

Small Wabash world, as I have said so many times before.

Kevin Chavous '78 – Promoting Better Schools

The efforts of Kevin Chavous, Wabash class of 1978, made the Indianapolis Star recently. Kevin’s been a strong advocate for better public schools and sees natural competition as one of the driving forces.

Kevin was one of the pioneers bringing charter schools to the Washington, DC area and he hopes some of the lessons learned along the way will be helpful to President-elect Obama and his administration. For the full story, click here.

Many thanks to Kevin for his efforts and to Marilyn Smith for bringing the article to our attention.

Fall of 2008 – Can't End Soon Enough?

Fall, 2008.  The common thought process, one that has stopped by my desk a time or 12, is too say let’s get this one behind us and move on to better times. Enough bad/sad news…there has to be better times around the corner.

It’s human nature to feel that way, but that just might be a little selfhis.