Eric Rowland '86 – Architect – Home Owner – Green By Design

Eric Rowland, Class of 1986, architect and principal with Rowland Design, Inc., is an LEED-accredited designer, which he used in 2008 during the redesign and renovation of the kitchen in his Indianapolis home.  

Architect Eric Rowland '86 at home in his kitchen.

Click here  to read about and see photos of the Rowlands’ kitchen in today’s Indianapolis Star “Indy Living – In the Kitchen”  — a weekly feature highlighting kitchens in Indianapolis-area homes.  Through his own remodeling changes, Eric plans to learn — and show others –how it is easy to be Green.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Nye/The Star

Indiana Impressionism – A Wabash Connection

Being an ardent admirer of the Hoosier Group and Indiana Impressionist art, a small notice in our local paper last week caught my eye:  The Putnam County Museum, just south of Crawfordsville, was to host a talk last night about Indiana Impressionist artist T(heodore). C(lement). Steele!  (Click here for the detailed notice from Greencastle’s Banner-Graphic). 

The featured speakers were Steele’s great-grandsons, Nick and Bob, who are first cousins.  It was a wonderful talk, sharing stories and remembrances from their own fathers and family members about “Great-grandfather,” and they displayed copies of family photos and other treasures for us to view.  Although T.C. Steele died before Nick and Bob were born, the warmth of their family lore and its history handed down was obvious and important to them.  Each of Bob’s and Nick’s own families carry on a traditional family name through the generations, and Nick’s three daughters were in the audience, as well.  Nick Steele is Emeritus Professor of Classical Studies at DePauw University, where he taught for almost 40 years.  Bob Steele is a DePauw graduate and the Director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics and Professor of Journalism Ethics at DePauw.

The Wabash connection here is that Brandt Nicholas Steele is Wabash Class of 1952.  During comments about T.C.’s Montgomery County ties, he recalled that Great-grandfather T.C. Steele had received an honorary degree from Wabash (A.M. in 1900), and that Wabash is Nick’s own alma mater.  In conversation after the program, Nick told me that Dr. Jack Charles, who taught Greek and History 1940-1980, was the Wabash influence who sparked his passion for Classical Studies and subsequently his academic career.  Nick also fondly recalls the Class of 1952 reunions he has attended on campus, and he looks forward to his 60th in 2012!

Last night was a unique opportunity to see two men, so well-known in their own fields of study, sincerely reminiscing about their family and its unique place in Indiana and art history.  It is also an honor to know how Wabash College shares in a part of their family history to be told to its future generations.

The Best Class I Have Taken. Period!

Professor Michael Bricker '04

Art 210.  Here’s the description in Michael Bricker’s own words: “…we will spend the semester trying to make sense of our constructed world by considering the landscape, the building, and the city as they relate to issues in contemporary architecture.”

I caught up with the class as they traveled the campus, with a small group of students reporting on their projects at different locations.  If you are thinking “show and tell”, forget it.  This was all about architecture as it relates to our world and environment – no easy stuff here.  And Michael, I’m sure, could spot that in a nano-second.

In the middle of the Arboretum, a project that started out as “cover the entire arboretum” was located.  Quickly the team realized the magnitude of their project, and scaled it appropriately.

Students observe the impact of their presence on the canopy above them.

The discussion, skilfully guided, went from environmental impacts on structure, to a “vice versa”, to the arboretum as a public walkway versus a journey through nature.

I talked to two students, one I know is a senior, as they made their way from one project to the next.  “Best class I have taken..Period!”  they stated.  Both also mentioned a post-Wabash path through life that would include elements of the class.  They were hooked.

Michael Bricker.  Wabash alumnus. Class of 2004. Almost 30.  Art major.  Co Founder of People for Urban Progress.  Recycler of the RCA Dome roof.

Most of all – Life Changer!

Senior Art Exhibit – These Guys Are Good

Back on March 20, 2011 I shared my experiences with you as I watched senior Will Skertic and his friends work on his senior art project.

This week the senior art projects were set up in the Eric Dean Gallery.  If you want to see some great talent, make a point to swing by and take a look.

I felt I owed you a look at Will’s finished products. After all, I left Fine Arts as the real detail work for Will was just beginning.  Here’s a couple of shots.

Will Skertic '11

Will Skertic '11

Will has a great deal of talent.  And so do others.  For example, I just happened to catch the Gallery when it was providing an educational experience for some elementary school children.  Wabash legendary Art Professor Greg Huebner H’77 welcomed the students and turned it over to a couple of seniors.

I caught senior Ian Starnes explaining a couple of his paintings.

Ian Starnes '11

Ian explained to the students that this particular painting was a cityscape done on glass and you can actually see yourself in the photo.

Spring by Ian Starnes '11

Ian also pointed out a series of four “paintings” he had done on the seasons of the year.  What makes these different is that he didn’t use any paint but instead used natural materials he found at Shades State Park and on campus.

Russ Harbaugh '06 – Touchdown!

A Film by Russ Harbaugh '06

Wabash campus, Tuesday evening, April 19, 2011.

Russ Harbaugh ’06, Chris Ogden ’06,  and Jake Knott ’03.  Three talented Wabash football stars.  The making of a Wabash football reunion.  But it wasn’t about football.

It was the Wabash liberal arts in action.

Jake Knott is a very successful investments guy in the Indy area.  He and his bride came for a friend.
Chris Ogden is off to Harvard Business School in August. He and his bride came for a friend.
Russ is finishing his degree at Columbia and it was his film, title in the photo, that brought everyone together.  He has good friends.

I won’ tell you about the film – you need to see it.  Yes, need.  I can tell you this.  I have been in exactly the same shoes as one of the characters…exactly.  Russ captured, and more importantly documented, every single emotion an oldest son goes through.  Spot on.  A “shack” in fighter lingo.  Perfecto.

Russ Harbaugh '06

Russ is in the “can of pork and beans for dinner” phase of being a film maker.  Displaying his talents and looking for the right fit, the right opportunity.  To make this film, Russ needed about $35,000.  $20,000 of that came from the Wabash community.  Sure some big names helped.  But there were also people on campus, everyday good people, who helped make it happen.  57% from the Wabash family…57%.

This out-of-work fighter pilot believes the pork and beans phase will be followed by the Capital Grill and St. Elmos phase.  I hope it will.  But let me tell you this.  Just like a few years back, Russ has proven again he’s a winner.  The creative talents he has have shifted from 3rd down and 7 yards to go to film cameras, set design, writing a script, and character development.  He’s kept one thing the same – calling audibles to make it happen/save the day.  He’s a guy you want in the game when it’s time to make things happen.

Kinda’ like Jake Knott and Chris Ogden.

C'ville – The Windy City!

Crawfordsville In The News!

Last night as strong storms rolled through Indiana, Crawfordsville took a shot of straight line winds.

There’s a lot of damage on campus.  The roof of our building, the Hays Center, has a corner of the roof lifted from the structure.

You can see our Campus Services guys were already attacking the damage at first light. While you can’t see all the damage in the photo, there are at least 7 trees down in this area of campus.  (There are 3 trees down behind the vehicle and another 2 just off camera to the right.)

Good news – no one hurt!

Closing an Admissions deal or starting a new one – this will help.

So, it’s the time of the year when college-bound young men need to get off the fence and make a decision.  It’s ALWAYS the time of year to introduce new prospects to your Wabash College.  Regardless, the words of Greg Castanias ’87 last November in welcoming young men to a Wabash visit provide some great food for thought and discussion. (Reprinted with kinda, sorta permission…)


Greg Castanias '87

Good morning, and welcome to Wabash College. We’re glad to have you all with us today.

And I’d like to start by telling you two secrets about the Wabash College educational experience.

It’s really hard. That’s the first secret.

Here’s the second secret. You probably haven’t heard, but there are no women who attend Wabash College. For those of you who are aimed at being mathematics majors, that’s a male-to-female ratio of — infinity.

So now that you know those two things about Wabash College, I’ll pause for just a moment to allow anyone who wants to leave to exit through the back doors.

Okay. Good. Now that we’ve scared off the people who shouldn’t have been here in the first place . . . let’s do this again.

Good morning, and welcome to Wabash College. The fact that you didn’t get up and leave means that this place might — might — be for you.

So let’s talk a little about what Wabash College is, and what Wabash College means, and maybe you’ll walk away with a little better feeling about what this place is about. Maybe, if you decide it’s for you, you’ll be standing up here in 2038, addressing the future members of the Wabash College class of 2043.

I’ll start with my story. I grew up in Indiana. I was born in Indianapolis, grew up there, and graduated from Indianapolis North Central High School, where I achieved a three-year-long record marked by long stretches of underachievement punctuated with bursts of adequacy. I was a smart enough kid, but I was determined to make sure that no one knew it, most of all, the teachers who gave me my grades. My intelligence was kept top-secret from them.

So it’s pretty funny that the College asked me today to speak to young men who are in the top ten percent of their high school classes. Because this is a party I wouldn’t have been invited to if this were 1982.

So how did I get here, from there? The answer is simple: Wabash College saw something in me that even I couldn’t see at the time. Wabash College helped me understand that “good enough” wasn’t going to be good enough for me, and helped me learn how to extract excellence from myself. If this College can turn a lazy underachiever like me into a summa cum laude graduate of Wabash and of law school, can turn a shy guy into a U.S. Supreme Court advocate and a partner in one of the world’s largest law firms, imagine what this College might do for you guys, who have already shown signs of excellence from your own high school performance.

So how does this transformation happen at Wabash College?

One reason it happens here is that Wabash College is small. This is a pretty exclusive club. More freshmen started at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus this past August than there are living alumni of Wabash College.

Being small is good for college. To the best of my recollection, I never had a “student number” when I went to college here, because people knew me by name. Being small means that there is a real Wabash community—your fraternity brothers or your dormitory pals will notice if you think you’re going to skip class, and even more importantly, your faculty will, too. I remember being on campus just last year, talking to a student, when a faculty member ran over to ask the student, “How come you weren’t in class this morning?” The point is this: You can’t hide and be an anonymous student at Wabash College. If you want to go to college and hide in your dorm room, well, you know where the doors are.

Now, let’s talk about those faculty members. There’s no such thing as a class taught by a teaching assistant at Wabash College. Your professors are going to be Ph.D.s, leaders or future leaders in their fields, authors, poets, cancer researchers, playwrights, economists. But whatever their field, there’s one thing all of these professors have to do well to be professors at Wabash College—they have to be great teachers.

And they are great teachers. Great because they are accessible to students, but also great because they demand excellence from Wabash men. I’ll tell you a couple of stories from my time here. One I remember was in my first couple of weeks of classes in my Freshman year, 27 years ago, in 1983. I was in an English class about contemporary drama, taught by Don Herring, the chairman of the department. He’s still around, as a retired, emeritus professor. But here’s what I remember: An upperclassman raised his hand, and made what sounded to me like a long, very sophisticated comment about this very difficult play by Luigi Pirandello that we were reading. There were only about nine of us in the class, and Dr. Herring took a breath, leaned back against the chalkboard, exhaled, and said, kindly but firmly, in his inimitable North Carolina accent, “Neil, that is a ponderous load of crap you just laid out there on the table.”

That was a good reminder that B.S. won’t get you through Wabash College. So, if you think you’re going to be able to B.S. your way through college, you know where the doors are, because Wabash College won’t be a great fit for you.

Now a story from my junior and senior years. There were a couple of areas I wanted to study in English that weren’t offered as official classes. One was the idea of heroes in literature, including female heroes. Another was this: I wanted to do an in-depth study of three poets whose work I had read, and I wanted to read more of their poetry, learn more about their lives, and write a substantial paper about how their work influenced the twentieth century and how the events of the twentieth century influenced them and their work. So I went to Professors Warren Rosenberg and Roger Berger and asked them if they would supervise me in what were called “independent studies.” In truth, these studies were not entirely “independent,” because we had class every week, once or sometimes twice. In both cases, class was held over lunch at the Scarlet Inn, across campus, in a booth. An hour of the two of us—me on one side of the booth, the professor on the other side—discussing the book or poems I was reading that week. Talk about not being able to hide!

This is what I mean by Wabash College faculty being teachers.

But it’s not all about the classrooms. I often say that the best education I got here was between midnight and two a.m., in the dining room of my fraternity house, discussing issues of politics, philosophy, religion, or sports, with my fellow students. Many of the very accomplished young men surrounding you in this room will end up being your teachers, and you, theirs.

There’s a lot of room for fun here, too. As you know, Wabash has a nationally ranked football team, its swimming and diving program is one of the top Division III programs in the Nation, and if you walk across campus, you’ll see our new, state-of-the-art baseball facility being built. For my part, I was a radio DJ and eventually ran WNDY-FM, the radio station here—that’s not part of the coursework here; it’s an entirely student-run and student-funded operation. The college newspaper here—it’s called The Bachelor (ha, ha)—is award-winning, and I try to read it on line every week as an alumnus. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the College humor magazine,Barrickman’s Revenge—named after Basil Barrickman, the first student ever expelled from Wabash College for misconduct—which I edited in my last semester here, as a little going-away gift for my friends in the faculty and administration. (After that, it’s amazing that I’m allowed back on campus at all.)

You don’t have to do any of these things if you come to Wabash College, but you should want to do them. They’re fun, they’ll bring you into contact with different members of the Wabash College community, and you might accidentally learn something. Me, I learned to come out of my shy shell behind a radio microphone, and they haven’t been able to shut me up since then.

I’m going to close by talking about our alumni, in part for selfish reasons. In part it’s because I’m an alumnus. Mostly it’s because I’ll be the president of the National Association of Wabash Men, the College’s Alumni Association, starting in May. You’ve heard a little bit about what I do for a living; let me tell you a little more. I’ve had the privilege of arguing three times so far before the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. (Talk about a place where you can’t hide!) I’m involved in a copyright case, representing SAP, that yesterday’s Wall Street Journal called “The Technology Trial of the Century.” Also, right now, I’m representing a Utah company, Myriad Genetics, in a case involving the question of whether isolated DNA molecules indicating a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancers are eligible for patents. And I do these hard, technologically sophisticated things with my Wabash College degree. A degree in English and Philosophy.

But today I’m not being a lawyer in Washington, D.C. I’m standing here on a stage in Crawfordsville, Indiana, talking to 210 outstanding high-school students. Why? Because Wabash College asked me to, because you guys are important to the future of Wabash College. This week alone, I’ve e-mailed with three current Wabash students about their plans for law school, communicated with one of my fellow alumni, a corporate executive in South Africa who has a friend teaching high school in Martinsville who would like to refer some of her best students to Wabash, and after I wind up this speech, I’m going to walk across campus to a small meeting to discuss how we’re going to go about raising the remaining $24 million for our $60 million Challenge of Excellence. This is what we do. We don’t hide from challenges.

By the way, if $60 million sounds like a lot of money, it is, but it’s going to be a piece of cake for Wabash men. Ten years ago, we embarked on a capital campaign that raised $137 million from alumni and friends of this 850-student college. No college of this size, before or since, has raised $100 million in a capital campaign. By the time we’re done with the Challenge of Excellence, we’ll have raised $200 million in two campaigns.

There’s really nothing Wabash men can’t do. We can raise money that no one thought we could. We can argue groundbreaking cases in federal court involving complicated issues of genetics, even if our majors were in English and Philosophy, because we have Wabash College educations. Shortly, you’ll hear from some other, younger Wabash men like Evan Brown, Tony Caldwell, Keith Veal, Pat East, Kris Gunn, and Dan Schenck. They and the other men you’ll hear from are also shining examples of this basic principle. All we have to do is take those Wabash educations and put our minds, heart, and will to whatever we want to accomplish. Wabash education, and Wabash will. That’s really all it takes.

This is Wabash College. It says so on the College seal. Scientiae et Virtuti. It’s Latin, just like your real sheepskin diploma will be. Scientiae et Virtuti. Science and Virtue. Knowledge and Manhood. Know-how and Guts. Education and Integrity. Wisdom and Moral Courage.

That is Wabash College. If you want to get a spectacular education, but more than that, you want to learn how to be a man in the Twenty-First Century, this is the place for you. Come join us.

Welcome to Wabash College.


Pick a part…any part.  It will work!

Sam Hildebrand '61

Sam Hildebrand '61

That’s Sam Hildebrand, Class of 1961, in those Foster Grants.  Sam attended the Wittenberg double header yesterday.

Sam just finished putting together the Big Bash 50th reunion book for his class.  The first mailing is on it’s way and all the other go out today.

Sam’s tireless efforts insured the highest participation rate we have seen from a 50th reunion class.  Now he can sit back, relax, and really enjoy the 2011 Big Bash.

He’ll be there – hope you will be as well.

Spring Classes

The patio of the MXIBS

The weather, as you know, changes in Indiana a couple of times a day.  Yesterday it was nice in the afternoon and this class made the most of it, moving outside from the MXIBS to their very nice patio space.  That’s Professor of Philosophy Mark Brouwer leading the discussion.

As I walked by, I wished I were back…no, not really.  That would mean papers, exams, COMPS…  But wait, it would also mean summer vacation, spring break, a month off at Christmas…

Professor Brouwer…is it too late to sign up for…

A Wabash Fairy Tale

Tom Bambrey '68

Tom Bambrey ’68, who will retire in a couple of months, gave a Chapel talk you must see if Wabash holds a special place in your heart.

It's story time!

I am not going to tell you anything else…and I am writing this even before there’s a link to include.  You’ll just have to do due diligence and search it out for yourself on the college’s web site.

But to miss this is a sin for a Little Giant.  A big sin! (And it’s Lent!)