Days 3 and 4—Fort Wayne, IN and Louisville, KY

By Kyle Bender ’12 & Tyler Wade ’12

Whew…it’s been a crazy couple of days for the folks on the Wabash Road Trip as we had our longest day of driving and events in Fort Wayne and Louisville the past two days.

After Mrs. Chamblee cooked us an awesome breakfast, we left South Bend for Fort Wayne on Saturday. We got to The Fort and Tyler met up with his parents at Concordia High School where his brother, Abraham, was playing in an AAU Basketball Tournament. During the basketball games, Kyle took the van over to the movie theatre to catch the latest Harry Potter film. Both of us had fun and it was a great respite in the middle of the road trip.

The trip has brought success! These men, who were classmates at Wabash, had no idea they lived near one another. They spent the evening planning a new Monon Bell watch party location in Louisville.

After the down time, we went to Don Hall’s Factory and saw a small but spirited group of current and prospective students and their parents. We certainly would have liked to have more alums show up for the event, but it was also the Three Rivers Festival so families were probably busy taking in the festivities. We had a great time with the people who did come though and really enjoyed our time in Fort Wayne. After the event, we took our bags to the house of Cameron and Chris McDougal ’12 and then went to see what the festival had to offer.

We were up bright and early on Sunday morning for the 4 hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky. Both of us have an interest in golf so we hoped we could check in at the hotel and then watch the final round of the British Open and catch the US Women’s team in their World Cup Final match against Japan. Sadly, the room was not ready and we spent 20 minutes driving around New Albany looking for a place to get lunch that had a television. That trek was also unsuccessful so we decided to head into Louisville and Molly Malone’s (the location of the event that night) to grab some lunch and watch the end of The Open Championship.

Molly Malones, in downtown Louisville, served as great location for our event. Watching an Irishman win the British Open in an Irish Pub is quite an experience!

There we met up with Jeff Soller ’12, who is interning with the Legal Aid Society of Louisville with Jeff Been ’81. He came back with us to New Albany to watch the World Cup game before we raced back to town to see the final fateful acts of the game against Japan. What a heartbreaker!

After the final penalty kick, Wabash men began showing up with their families for a fun night of fellowship. We had about 20 folks from around the Louisville area come out to share stories of their time at Wabash—classes, football, parties, etc. and to catch up on what they are doing in their current professions. They talked about how Cultures and Traditions would be missed as a class but spoke with hope about the future of liberal arts education at a place like Wabash. It was an awesome night!

We had a great turnout for the Louisville event

After the event we welcomed Soller into our hotel room so he would be closer to work in the morning and had a great time talking about what we have done thus far at Wabash and what lies in the months ahead. It was really sentimental but just another thing to get us excited to be back on campus come August.

Today takes us to Evansville. We stopped for lunch in Corydon, the first state capitol, and are sitting in a Starbucks in EVille waiting for Chris Deig ’12 to tell us how to get to his house. We are excited to see another great turnout tonight here in Evansville and may stop in Greencastle tomorrow on the way to the Mitchum Crock in Indianapolis!

Fun With Tyler and Kyle

Kyle Bender '12 Shares His Experiences

Tonight – the Road Trip stop in Fort Wayne, IN – is my last Road Trip event.  Home tomorrow to mow the lawn, get caught up on emails, and other chores.

The Road Trip has been a boatload of fun.  I’ve met new alumni, parents, and friends and caught up with several students.  The fun part has been to see the informal, low cost alumni event model come together…successfully.

Tyler Wade '12

Kyle Bender ’12 and Tyler Wade ’12 have really added to the fun.  They have planned an excellent series of events and their personalities have been perfect for this.  Additionally, they’ve had great experiences at Wabash and they can communicate the importance of those opportunities in exactly the right way.  As I looked around tonight as they both mentioned the value of those opportunities they have had everyone was nodding their heads in agreement.  No wonder they are two talented leaders in the Class of 2012.

Tyler and Kyle have also been considering their possible replacements for next summer’s trip. Whoever they will be, they’ll have big shoes to fill.

As I head back home, they are headed to Louisville and Evansville – they team up with Mike Warren ’93.

For photos from the Fort Wayne event, click here.


Day 2 – St. Joseph Valley

By Kyle Bender ’12 & Tyler Wade ’12

Outlined against a blue, gray October sky: Chamblee, Gum, Horn, Young... Rode Again

On October 21st, 1905 the Wabash College football team travelled to Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana and defeated the Fighting Irish on their home turf, 5-0. The Irish would not lose again at home until 1928. On Friday night, the Wabash Road Trip brought Wabash Men to the campus again, as they hosted the St. Joseph Valley Association of Wabash Men for a lovely get together at The Legends of Notre Dame, located just 100 yards south of the fabled stadium.

We arrived early in South Bend (making sure to avoid the interstates again) so that we could maximize our sightseeing opportunities. Wabash football star Wes Chamblee ’12 met us on the north end of the stadium near “Touchdown Jesus” and we talked with him for a little bit and he gave us a nice tour of campus before returning to his summer internship with the South Bend Tribune.

After meeting up with Wes, who we are staying with tonight, we continued our tour of campus stopping at the basilica and The Gold Dome before making our way south to grab lunch at The Legends with another Wabash student, Michael Carper ’13, who was in town to pick up his sisters from a church camp.

Lunch was fantastic and we decided to take a trip to another important Notre Dame site, The Grotto, before making our way to the main campus and the bookstore. Tyler was concerned with purchasing a “Brian Kelly pullover” so that he might imitate the attire of the second year coach of the Irish football team. After some perusing at the store, we met up with Tom Runge to take some photos around campus. You can see those photos in Tom’s blog post below.

Tom had arranged a meeting for Kyle with Wabash man Peter Horvath ’92, who is the Director of Student Services at The Law School of Notre Dame. Kyle is hoping to attend law school next year and Peter was kind enough to give him some pointers and a tour of the lovely facilities the law school finished just a couple years ago.

After a long day of sightseeing, the gang made our way back to The Legends to wait for the alums to show up. We had a decent showing of St. Joseph Valley alumni, current students, and spouses at the event that had lots of questions about recent developments at the College. Of special importance were recent athletic field projects and job placement in the tough economy. The alums were very excited about the event and are hoping to make an event even bigger in the coming years.

The Chamblee Family proudly flies Wabash colors in South Bend, Indiana. BashDad#84 never fails to fly Scarlet & White over Blue & Gold every Saturday

After things wrapped up on campus, we went to the Chamblee’s house outside of South Bend for some much needed rest and relaxation. We will get up tomorrow to head for Fort Wayne and Don Hall’s Factory in the evening. We also hope to catch Abraham Wade ’22 in his AAU basketball tourney at Ft. Wayne Concordia HS.

Alumnus: "You Have To Keep This Up"!

Wabash Men Tend To Gravitate To...

It’s Friday so we must be in South Bend.  We all met in the Notre Dame Bookstore.  An employee walked right up to us and said: “Wabash?  I know Wabash.  Good school.”  We all were thrilled!

After a few photos in the local area (see the photo album) we headed over to Legends, right on the Notre Dame campus.  As alumni and current students arrived, somehow, through some sort of natural migration, we ended up near the “beverage dispenser”.

Kyle and Tyler introduced themselves and thanked the attendees for the opportunities they had at Wabash.  Both mentioned their experiences on immersion trips and through various grants.  Professors, of course, were highlighted as life-changers.  That’s something the entire group agreed with completely.

We ended up having a lively discussion on everything from the new incoming class to the soccer fields to career opportunities in a tough economy to new programs at Wabash like the 3-2 agreement with Purdue for Engineering.

The food was excellent (don’t tell Carol I ate way too much!) and there are some beverages you must try if you are at the home of the Fighting Irish.

The South Bend stop attendees were universal in their approval of the Road Trip, almost demanding a stop next summer.

For a photo album of this stop, click here.


Day 1: Lafayette and Merrillville

By Kyle Bender ’12 and Tyler Wade ’12

After we finished some last minute packing and stopped by to see our friends in Career Services, we left Crawfordsville at 11:30 yesterday morning and drove up 231 to Lafayette, IN and the Lafayette Brewing Company. The van looked great parked in front of the restaurant and we were soon greeted by a small, but spirited contingent of folks from the Lafayette Association of Wabash Men. The group is headed by Lou Fenoglio ’81 and usually meets on the last Thursday of every month. They change their schedule for the month of July so they might be able to welcome us on the inaugural stop of the 2011 Wabash Road Trip.

We arrived early to ensure a prominent parking spot for the event

We had a great conversation with the guys there, and even ran into a DePauw grad on the street that asked, “Do you guys have the Bell?” Clearly but one of several key distinctions between Wabash Men and our counterparts to the South. We made sure to add her to the scoreboard Runge mentioned in an early post. We also made sure we pointed out the scoreboard on the back of the van…

After lunch was finished we left for “Da Region” as it is affectionately known as on the official Wabash Road Trip t-shirts. We had determined we did not want to travel on the interstates so we might be able to see more of the state and be able to pass time between stops. We made a quick visit to see Kyle’s parents in Carroll County and then stopped in Monon, IN for what he thought was going to be a quick photo op.

For those of you who have not traveled this way, Monon, IN is a stop along the famed Monon line from which our trophy came. There in Monon sits the Whistle Stop Café and Monon Line Museum. They had a huge collection of train memorabilia, several Monon bells, and some railcars outside. One was a large caboose with “WABASH” painted on the side in lovely red and white. We met the owner and his brother and they gave us a tour of the inside and sent us plenty of brochures so we might be able to spread the word. So, Wabash folks, if you are ever near Monon, IN make sure to run by the Whistle Stop Café!

Wabash Caboose at the Whistle Stop in Monon, Indiana


Continuing north and then west, we pulled into T.J. Maloney’s Irish Pub located just off Interstate 65 in Merrillville, IN. We knew this was going to be one of our biggest crowds and the folks in The Region did not disappoint, as we had over 40 alums, spouses, current students, and their families on hand for a nice evening of fellowship. We gave short presentations about our Wabash experiences and let the group engage in their own conversations. The crowd was great and it seemed like everyone had a very good time catching up with one another. There is great excitement about what lies for the NW Indiana Alumni Association and hopefully last night’s event puts them in a good situation for the future.

We decided to avoid the hotels on this trip too, and luckily we have enough friends across the state to be able to stay with our classmates and their families during this trip. Last night we stayed with Jeremy Coons ’12 and his family in Hobart. They provided a nice place to stay and we thank them for their hospitality.

Already up and at ‘em today we are stopped at a Starbucks in Portage to write our blog and then will work over to South Bend for tonight’s event. We hope to be able to walk around the Notre Dame campus and see what their bookstore has to offer before we meet the rest of the group for our event at 5 at the Legends of Notre Dame located right on campus. Hopefully we can get some last minute commits to tonight’s festivities in South Bend and for the rest of the stops along the way.

Road Trip Report – Northwest Indiana – WOW!

We filled two rooms at the pub!

July 14, 2011 – First evening Road Trip stop was in Northwest Indiana at TJ Mahoney’s pub.  We ended up with well over 40 attendees – alumni, friends, parents, and current students.  We filled two private rooms at the pub.  The food was excellent and the crowd was even better.  We had one Class of 2015 member, several current students, and alumni from the Class of 1957 and younger.  It was informal and fun.

Kyle Bender '12 Shares His Personal Wabash Experiences

The only real program started with a brief introduction of the Road Trip concept.  Kyle and Tyler then shared their Wabash experiences which included trips this summer to Kenya (Kyle) and Italy (Tyler).  We closed by thanking the attendees for their support of Wabash’s effort to remain strong and grow even stronger.  Without the support of our alumni, immersion trips with talented and enthusiastic faculty members and scholarships just wouldn’t be possible.  Program length – under 10 minutes…easy.

It was great to see recent graduates already impressing their bosses at work, Wabash alumni mentoring younger Wabash alumni, current students excited about getting back to campus, and parents saying that Wabash had changed their sons into young, responsible men.

For photos of Day 1, click here.

I’m pumped, to say the least.

On to South Bend!


The Road Trip Van Scorecard

Hi-tech in the Road Trip van

This is the unofficial scoring system that Tyler and Kyle have developed.  The score “sheets” are on the passengers side of the van.

1.  Honks
2.  Flip-offs.
3.  Waves.
4.  Dirty stares.
5.  Misc.

Will be interesting to watch these are we progress.

More later.



Road Trip – We're Off!

Seth Nunan '07 Likes It!

Our first stop was a luncheon in Lafayette.  After lunch, the alumni wanted a closer look at the van.

That’s Dick Stout ’72 checking out the van while Seth Nunan ’07, who works alongside three DePauw graduates, really liked the back window for some strange reason.

Tune in later and I’ll give you a sneak preview of the scorecards Kyle and Tyler have developed.