Was that a community meeting?

Jim Amidon — We had a Staff Community Meeting on Tuesday. These are typically pretty routine; you know, reports from the senior administrators and president. Sometimes the news is actually new; other times many of us already know the details presented.

Yesterday felt different. Every presenter gave thanks and presented kudos to various staff members who made this an exciting fall on the Wabash campus. Maybe I’m still lingering in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, but it was refreshing, I think, to listen as Rachelle Merkel gave thanks to the many, many people on campus who made the Top 10 Scholarship Visit Day so remarkable. Dean Tom Bambrey gave a deserving hat’s off to the Schroeder Career Center Staff — Scott Crawford, Stephanie Hopkins, and Toni McKinney — for what was the most exciting, energetic fall in Schroeder anyone around here can remember.

Dean Joe Emmick (yes, he asked for money, but politely) started by lifting up the staff of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts for their remarkable grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. Joe reminded us that renewal grants are rare, and that $20.5 million for ongoing work at Wabash’s two international centers doesn’t happen by chance. Hard work, dedication, and the pursuit of excellence are required.

One by one, Deanna McCormick, Steve Klein, Ray Williams, and President Ford all tipped their caps to their staffs and those who work with them for a great fall at Wabash.

Think about it. In the last four months Wabash can boast: A Rhodes Scholar recipient; $20.5 million in grants from Lilly Endowment; an 11-1, conference champion football team; a successful Homecoming weekend; positive progress on searches for the new president and dean; two of the most successful Admissions visit weekends ever; a clean audit in the Business Office; terrific new web site initiatives; a new director of the Malcolm X Institute; great, collaborative work on the Academic Program Review; off-the-chart NSSE scores and "America’s Hottest Colleges" designation; the list goes on and on.

I think I’d trade that one, 45-minute meeting for all of the previous dozen staff community meetings. For me, listening to our leaders give thanks simply demonstrated how interconnected all of our work at Wabash is; how all of us rely on one another to advance the mission of Wabash College. And the beneficiaries are the 877 fortunate young men who attend this remarkable college.