Bill's Office

That’s Bill’s office…actually, both Bills…Placher and now Cook.  Bill Placher ’70.  Bill Cook ’66.

I met with Bill Cook to talk about a great alumni travel opportunity next year (stay tuned for details – this is one you will not want to miss).  I told Bill I would come over to his office – he’s a busy campus leader and I am well…you know me.  

I wondered how it would be…how it would feel?

It was…well…perfect.  And I mean that.  It’s almost as if Bill Placher willed it to Bill Cook.  It’s Bill Placher’s books, desk…and soul.  Bill Cook knows all of that…and it fits him better than an OJ Simpson glove.  Bill Placher left his campus "home" to someone who can "live" there.  And Bill Cook is living there, for sure.

I did ask about all of Bill Placher’s books and got an answer I half expected.  Of course they will be used for good – of that I had no doubt.  But Bill Placher wanted them shipped to a Third World Seminary…priceless.

As I made my way back to the 1974-1999 Conference Room in Hays Alumni Center (my temporary office) I did so with a smile on my face.  As with all Wabash legends, we are left here to worry about our loss and how will we ever be able to replace the legend.  Bill Cook would be the first guy to tell you he isn’t Bill Placher…but the smile tells me he knows that Bill Placher approves.

Top:  Bill Cook works at his computer.

Right:  Bill Cook is comfortable and it shows.



The Other Ghost

The other ghost, in addition to Mitch Mitchum, is Myron "Phil" Phillips ’27, who served as the director from 1956 to 1962.

Phil Phillips is the father of our Society of Wabash College Class Agents.  In his day, the class agents served a vital role in getting the word out about the college and about their classmates.  Can you imagine what Phil would say if he could see the Wabash web site and the frequency with which the content changes?  He’d be amazed.

I think he would also let me know that the vision he saw for class agents keeping their class members connected is just as important today as it was in 1956. He might do a double take on Facebook or Linkedin…but that’s the way it goes…. 

I might get a little talking to as well when he saw the frequency of communication from some class agents. The price we pay for following real legends… 

Thankfully we also have Wabash legends Gordon Colson ’58 (director from 1988-1996) and Stan Walker ’66 (director from 1996-2000) to help us out and show us the way.  They are just a phone call away.


Alumni Relations Ghosts

When I first returned to the college in 1999, one of my visits was to the Dean of Students office – in those days the Dean was Tom Bambrey ’68.  One of the interesting things about the Dean’s office is a large painting of Dean Norm Moore hanging on the wall.  It seems that wherever you are in the office, Dean Moore is watching you!  Of course that is no different than my college days, when someone needed to be looking after me, for sure!

 We don’t have any Center Hall offices in alumni relations nor do we have cool paintings of Wabash legends…but we do have two ghosts that keep pretty close tabs on us (especially me) these days.

 R. Robert (Mitch) Mitchum is one of them.  Mitch led the alumni effort from the years 1974-1982.  Mitch is also warmly remembered as the Wabash Glee Club director.

Many a Wabash man has mentioned the impact Mitch had.  Most of the stories start like this:  "Back in (fill in the year) Bob Mitchum volunteered me for (fill in the position).  The stories always go on with "I wanted to do my absolute best because I just didn’t want to let Mitch down".  That’s the true measure of impact…that it has lasted the almost 30 years since Mitch worked in alumni relations.

I hope Mitch doesn’t see some of the reunion numbers for a couple of the classes for this year’s Big Bash – I’ll be getting a visit from him and a message that I have let him down.

The other ghost tomorrow… 

Pat and Pat – What Makes Wabash Special

Took this photo last Monday evening at the Annual Peck Awards dinner.  That’s the Bachelor editor in chief, Patrick McAlister ’10, talking with Wabash president Pat White.

The Bachelor recently garnered a number of awards including best small school paper in Indiana.  Like all college and university papers, the Bachelor and the college’s administration don’t see eye to eye on every subject.  They never have, they never will, and if they did it just wouldn’t be right.    Young men who form their own opinions and aren’t afraid to back them up are what "educating young men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely" is all about.  The Wabash tradition is blue books…not book answers.

Last week you received an email from Pat White about the impact of the economy on the college.  Pat’s note clearly demonstrates that times are indeed tough AND that the college’s leadership is firmly committed to keep Wabash strong. 

In times like these some of our friends won’t be able to lend their normal level of support to the college because of their personal challenges.  We completely understand that.  For those of us who can, let’s step up and apply a new, distinctively Wabash, meaning to "Yes, We Can".  Yes, we can keep Wabash strong.  Yes, we can make sure the education these young men receive keeps getting better and better.  Yes, we can be there for our brothers.

I just went on-line to and increased my support of the college with a recurring credit card gift.  It took one minute.  Wabash students get the support – I can get the miles/points/free stays etc. – I specify when it’s billed and for what period.

Simple.  Easy.   Win-win.

Yes We Can.

Morris Dees – Advice For All Wabash Men

Morris Dees (r), seen here with alumnus and alumni board president Jim Dimos ’83, was on campus Monday evening to accept the David W. Peck Medal for his achievements in the field of law. Dees is the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Jim Dimos and David Kendall ’66, also a Peck Medal Recipient, were instrumental in Dees’ visit to campus.  David Kendall and Dees worked together in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Dees’ sage advice wasn’t just about the law but about living.  He urged the attorneys and the students interested in law to try not to plan their careers too much, citing his experiences as an example.  He stressed the need to follow their conscience and their passion in their professional endeavors.  Good advice for all! 

It was a great evening!


Wabash Alumni on Linkedin – 1,000 members

The Wabash College Alumni group recently passed the 1,000 member mark.  That means 8% of our alumni body are members and can be contacted by a single post on the Linkedin group page.  (for Linkedin, go to

Our Wabash Lawyers group includes 100 alumni involved in the law.  That, appropriately enough, represents approximately 8% of our alumni body who report their careers are involved in some part of the practice of law.

So, Wabash alumni, here’s a free, easy to use method to contact Wabash alumni all over the world when you are looking for a Wally in law or in some other career area.

Look Closely – SNOW!

April 6, 2009.  Saturday I was wearing shorts and working in the yard.  Yesterday, it rained nearly all day.  Today? Snow.

Oh, it won’t "stick" to the ground; the ground is just too warm.  But it is snow, as you can see on the roof of Hovey Cottage and in the back the Lilly Library.

Was it just last week I showed you a picture of the class meeting outside?

You remember – Indiana weather.  Wait and hour or two and it will all…

Prof. Tracey Salisbury – The Standing "O"

Prof. Tracey Salisbury, a tenure track faculty member in the history department who wlll earn her doctorate later this year, earned a standing ovation yesterday for her Chapel talk on "Wabash Always Thinks – Or Not."

A podcast is available to download from iTunesU here.

Her message centered on acceptance and not second-guessing people. From an acceptance standpoint, Salisbury sees Wabash as a college that doesn’t say "No" but always tries to find a positive, moving forward answer. 

She also believes that new people and new ideas aren’t to be resisted, as she senses the Wabash community sometimes does, but embraced.  New ideas and new people are not threats to existence but the energy sources for growth and development.  These are the things that make a college and its family strong.

Her thoughts obviously resonated with many in attendance as they certainly responded to her talk.

That Time Of The Year

That’s German class last week.  Class meeting outdoors.  Eight guys in the class.  Recruiting poster?

You can remember those days, can’t you?  Pick the professor, pick the class, spring day…


Like Wabash.

Seamus Boyce '03 – Headed to the Supreme Court

Seamus Boyce ’03 is an associate in the firm of Church, Church, Hittle, & Antrim in Noblesville, Indiana.  Seamus graduated from law school less than three years ago, in 2006.

However, in the next couple of months a case in which Seamus has played a big role will be heard by the highest court in the land – the Supreme Court.  Of course, Seamus will be there…but here’s the kicker.  Seamus isn’t old enough to argue a case before the Supreme Court!  That’s right, he’s too young!!!

Something tells me he’ll be there again and I think I might just go out on a limb and predict he will be made a partner in the firm!