Commencement and reunion in 1923

The Big Bash is here again. Lots of alums and their spouses, walking around campus, reliving their days at Old Wabash. The stories flow fast with laughs sprinkled all through them. This year, as last, the Scarlet Yarns project is operating out of the Ramsay Archives. Alums check in here and wait for their turn in the recording studio next door. While they wait, they visit with each other, with me and with the students who will interview them. I love to hear the stories from both the alums and the students. The alumni stories are peppered with pride, advice to current students and amazement that they made it through such times. Often the stories center around a favorite professor – tales of support, celebration and even, occasionally, discipline delivered with a firm, but kind, word of warning.

Charles, Haenisch, Moore, Shearer, Mielke, Rogge, Trippet, Sparks and Placher are some of the members of the faculty mentioned yesterday. With such a small college, our students come to know the faculty. This still happens as the stories from more recent alums demonstrate. So as I hear the stories, I marvel that though the names of well-loved faculty change, the basic dynamic of close, personal contact and thoughtful mentoring continues.

Wabash is proud of its old traditions, but one of the best and most worthy is the way that for over 175 years, Wabash has taken rough and sometimes rowdy boys, taught them to think for themselves, challenged them with the Gentleman’s Rule during their time here, sent them out into the world armed with a liberal arts education and always welcomed them back as loyal sons. So the names change, the traditions come and go as each era makes it impressions on this college, but the mission stays the same – the education of men to face the challenges of their day.

As you can tell, Big Bash is a special time for those of us who work here everyday, a time when we clearly see the work that we do making a difference. By the looks of things around here this weekend that is good work indeed.

Beth Swift, Archivist
Wabash College