Barreto Stresses Understanding Differences

Howard W. Hewitt – Professor of Economics Bert Barreto shared childhood stories of fleeing Cuba and growing up in Miami to make a point in Thursday’s Chapel.

Barreto weaved other stories into a tale of how he stayed home from school and played sick just to see a World Series game on television. It was that fifth game of the 1968 World Series between St. Louis and Detroit when entertainer Jose Feliciano cause a national controversy with his version of the National Anthem. Hear Barreto’s entire speech in a podcast by clicking here.

Barreto played that version and another as part of this speech which was titled, “The Star Spangled Banner.”

He surprised the students at the end by announcing he was leaving Wabash College for another teaching position. He noted that his replacement might not question Wabash traditions the way he has done in his long tenure, but warned that might not be a good thing. To the contrary, he suggested a difference of opinion and someone who thinks differently is a strength.

Dedicated Leadership: Wabash’s Strategic Advantage

Jim Amidon — Wabash College is blessed in so many ways. It is rich in tradition and history; has a sizeable endowment to keep it independent and free from external control; and boasts an exceptional faculty and staff — good people whose lives are dedicated to Wabash students.

I’m also continually surprised by the strength and loyalty of Wabash’s alumni leadership.

Starting last Wednesday night, alumni representing the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of the national alumni association returned to campus for three days of long, intense, and focused conversations on the future of the College.

Some may recall a column I wrote a month or so ago in which I mentioned the excitement of going through a long-range strategic planning process.

We took another giant leap forward over the weekend when both boards gathered — together and separately — to discuss the ideas on-campus committees have developed over the last four months.

Both of our boards are volunteer boards, which means the alumni are not compensated for their work on behalf of the College or their expenses incurred getting here. These men also represent the College’s most generous donors.

Their loyalty is unquestionable and their generosity seems limitless. But the real strategic advantage they bring to Wabash is the vast expertise of their professional and personal lives.

Our governing boards are made up of some of this nation’s brightest and talented leaders in business, medicine, law, politics, and education. They not only run major companies, law firms, and medical practices, they devote enormous amounts of time to non-profit boards and charities.

That they give so freely of their time to their alma mater is northing short of remarkable.

What they brought to the strategic planning conversations was largely unbiased business acumen. They effortlessly separated their strong feelings and love for Wabash from discussions of what’s in the College’s best interest as it moves forward.

I’ve been apart of dozens of planning meetings over the last four months. Our committees imagined that we’d covered all bases and asked all pertinent questions.

The trustees, however, came at the discussions differently. They used phrases like “return on investment” and “developing strategic priorities” that in every way helped sharpen our focus.

Their expertise and advice is absolutely crucial to our planning efforts. They are the living examples of what really works in a Wabash education and they can carefully articulate for us what it was about their time at Wabash that led to their success today.

Virtually all of them credit their critical thinking skills to their liberal arts education at Wabash. In turn, as we talked about our future planning, they continually zeroed in on how better develop our students’ critical thinking skills in all aspects of the plan.

Rarely, if ever, in three solid days of planning discussions did the conversations steer away from Wabash students. When we talked about physical facilities, trustees focused on how new or renovated facilities would improve the lives and experiences of our students. When we talked about faculty and curricular issues, the context was how any changes would lead to more dramatic growth in our students.

The trustees are gone now, having returned to their homes in California, New York, Washington, and all points in between. For many of us involved in strategic planning, the real work now begins.

The boards gave generously of their time and talents to sharpen our focus. In doing so they illustrated brilliantly Wabash’s greatest strength — equipping students with critical thinking skills so that they might tackle the world’s hardest problems in an unpredictable future — and demonstrated once again that the College’s biggest strategic advantage is its alumni.

In the photo: Jake Lee talks with Trustee Roger Billings at the Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work, which was attended by Trustees and members of the NAWM Board of Directors.

it’s a small world

Kim Johnson – My husband, David, and I just returned from our second trip to Disney World. We made our reservations shortly after we participated in the 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis last May. While at the Mini Expo I discovered the Disney World Marathon Weekend and decided it would be a perfect excuse to get to go back to visit my favorite mouse!

On the Friday night before the race David and I were headed back to our room when I heard “does that say Wabash College?” in reference to my sweatshirt. “I graduated from Wabash College. I know you didn’t go to Wabash,” he said with a laugh.

Upon introducing myself and explaining my relationship with the College, I met Marcus White ’91. He said that he and his friend Keith Hall ’90 were also at Disney World for the Marathon Weekend.

While we were there for the half marathon, they were there for the Goofy Challenge. The Goofy Challenge is a half marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday morning (at 6:00 a.m. nonetheless) and a full marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday morning. Yes – that is Goofy if you ask me.

I met David at the finish on Saturday morning, where, I must brag, he cut 30 minutes off his last half marathon time. As we headed back to our resort we ran into Marcus and Keith. I took this picture of the two of them (Keith is on the left, Marcus on the right) and promised to get them a little “positive press”.

We saw them again on Sunday after the marathon. I am happy to report they both survived and were able to collect not one, not two, but three medals for the weekend – Donald, Mickey, and the highly sought after, but difficult to achieve – Goofy!

Congratulations Marcus and Keith for a well-fought race! Maybe next year Wabash should get together an even bigger contingent for the race and send someone from Public Affairs to cover it… but who on earth could that be…

On Susan

Jim Amidon — Susan Veatch Cantrell slipped silently away from us early Monday morning after a long and courageous fight with a variety of health problems.

That she left us silently is ironic.

Susan’s words, written and spoken, rang loudly in her lifetime. Jean Williams called her singing voice the “purest silver.” Her laugh was robust and always genuine.

She was anything but silent.

I first met her in the mid-80s when she began working in Kane House at Wabash College. I’d bump into her en route to the sports information director’s office while I was still a student. I was doing radio news and sports for WCVL; she was fresh off a broadcasting career with WCBS in New York City and WBBM in Chicago.

Oh, how she could tell stories.

She told me about the time she had a private dinner with Mario Cuomo and other New York politicians. She told me about riding in taxicabs at the same time her taped broadcast editorials were being played on WCBS, and how she loved hearing what the cabbies thought of her opinions.

She told me about her newsroom buddies and how they used to summon her by yelling loudly “VEATCH!”

When I began working at Wabash a year or two later, Susan was my colleague and became my best friend. I’d stick my head into her office to ask a question and would find myself engaged in conversations that lasted over an hour.

Susan’s gifts were many. Her ability to speak with you about something that really mattered to you — and to do so genuinely — was a rare gift.

Me? I talked with Susan about traveling to Europe; about the lasting significance of a well-planted perennial garden; about the best home-cooked meals you could make; about my family; and about my dreams.

She cared about those subjects because I cared about them. And it certainly wasn’t just me with whom she had that kind of a relationship. I’m not sure I’ve ever known anyone in my life who had so many friends, who was loved by so many different kinds of people — from farmers to judges, from prominent politicians and CEOs to the woman who lived next door.

Over the course of the 20 years we worked together, Susan taught me to write. She never sat down to give me lessons, but she modeled in her own writing the advice and encouragement I sought.

Prior to knowing Susan, my writing was limited to the sportscasts and newscasts I prepared for the radio station; short, 30-second pieces that were more about facts and stats than people.

What I tried to learn from Susan was how to tell someone’s story. I’ve never known anyone better at doing just that than Susan, and I’ve known a fair number of superb writers. Susan, though, could craft language with such grace and humor that you felt like you really knew the person she was describing.

For more than two decades, Susan wrote virtually every official citation or tribute Wabash bestowed on its alumni and friends. She wrote honorary degree citations celebrating the lives of scores of distinguished citizens. She paid tribute to the College’s closest friends as they became honorary alumni. And she carefully documented the achievements of Wabash’s alumni through award of merit citations and feature articles in Wabash Magazine.

In each and every case, her subject was treated with the same care and dignity as though she was writing about a member of her own family.

That’s why so many of us felt like Susan was a part of our families or we were part of hers. She was so humane, kind, and compassionate — like a mother or sister or in my case, best friend.

I’m saddened by Susan’s passing and I miss her greatly. Mostly I’m sad that future Wabash men will never get to share in those wondrous hour-long conversations about their hopes and dreams with a woman who could inspire them to achieve their goals.

We will remember Susan Veatch Cantrell as the quintessential Wabash storyteller — the person who brought honor to Wabash men and their families through her wisdom and words.

Around here we pay tribute to high-achieving Wabash men by referring to them as “Some Little Giants,” which seems a fitting title for one of the highest achieving Wabash women.

Susan Veatch Cantrell was Some Little Giant!

Schroeder ’99 Carrying on Family Tradition

Evansville, In. – Howard W. Hewitt – Carrying on tradition can be a burden or a great joy in  upholding family traditions. Scott Schroeder ’99 certainly has found it challenging, rewarding, and the life he always wanted.

Scott’s great-grandfather started the business, then his grandfather, John H. Schroeder ’42, started Cresline, Cresline West, Cresline Northwest, as well as Wabash Plastics. He remains chairman of the family businesses. John C. Schroeder ’69, Scott’s father, is president of Wabash Plastics. 

Scott becomes the fourth generation in the family business.

After working for Deloitte and then Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Scott got his MBA at IU and returned to the family business about six months ago.

Scott is one of 39 young alums we’ll be profiling in 2008. They are recent grads who are making their way in the world as Wabash men. You’ll  read more about it in coming weeks. It will be a joint project between our web team and Wabash Magazine.

So you’ll meet lots of interesting young Wabash grads — including Scott. Look for the first series of profiles to be online in late February!

So, what do you think of the arch?

Howard W. Hewitt – Students returned from all around Indiana, the country, and world this week for second semester classes at Wabash College.

Read the comments below and then add your own.

Psychology experiment?

Art Project?

Admissions office?

That’s a sampling of the ideas expressed thus far!

Right in front of the Chapel is a smaller duplicate arch to the one which has stood between Goodrich and Sparks for years!

The dubiously infamous Arch that students dare not pass under had been duplicated! What does it mean? What do you think it says? 

Click the comment button below to add your thoughts. Rumor has it the mystery will be solved soon.

The human story

Steve Charles—Indianapolis alums and fans of Tom Runge’s “Grunge Report” on the Wabash website may recall Andrew Shelton ’03 and his “new generation of cool.”

Tom linked us to John Russell’s Indianapolis Star feature about Andrew and his invention, the TrackPack Cooler, back in March, when Andrew still had most of the 11,000 backpack coolers left at his Northwest Indianapolis warehouse.

He’s since sold more than 8,000, is selling through Kroger, Marsh, and United Package Liquors in Indiana, and has been pleased to discover NASCAR is his biggest market. He’s put together promotional deals with Camping World, even made 30 special coolers for Crown Royal.†

Facing a three-month road trip to promote the product, he bought an RV that also serves as a rolling billboard, and last he Saturday drove south to the Bowl Championship Series in New Orleans.

He’ll be meeting with owners of 26 stores there, then heading out to conventions in Utah and Nevada before hitting the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR circuit that he become his bread and butter.

All this from an idea he came up during his days as an English major at Wabash.
You can read that story in the Star article.

My time with Andrew last Friday was spent photographing him for the “That Entrepreneurial Spirit” issue of Wabash Magazine and a series called “39 Under 39” that the Public Affairs staff is doing about young alumni. And what captured my attention—beside the fact that the TrackPack really is an ingenious product that would look great with a WABASH logo across it—was Andrew’s remarkable energy and his long-range vision for his company.

That energy and commitment was as important as his networking skills as he struggled to find a product designer to build the prototype (backpack innovator Larry Reid of British Columbia, whose Bora pack revolutionized that industry in 1995) and a manufacturer to build the final product overseas.

Getting an idea to the market is a tough road to navigate, and one of Shelton’s long-range goals is to make that road easier for others.

“Ultimately I’d like to help others take product from development through marketing and sales,” Andrew says. “Do for others what I’ve learned, and let people share in the ownership.”

Andrew says that when people sell their inventions to large companies, the name of that person and the story of how the invention came to be often gets lost.

“I’d like to make sure that doesn’t happen, bring the human story to the product,” says the former Wabash English major. “That human story is very important.”

Check out Andrew’s road trip schedule here.