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The Difference Alumni Make: A Student’s Short List

Steve Charles—Senior Will Hoffman’s speech at Saturday’s Celebrating Leadership Luncheon got straight to the point about how essential giving by alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and staff is to every student who attends Wabash. 
Of course, as Will points out in his talk, he is a triplet—so getting right to the crux of the matter is perhaps a practical necessity.
In fact, Will arrived at the Celebrating Leadership Luncheon fresh off the successful completion of the first Wabash-St. Mary’s Homecoming Community Service Day, which Will co-organized with his sister, Jenny, a student at St. Mary’s.
I thought you might like to read Will’s short talk, and what he found out when he emailed his fellow members of Beta Theta Pi and the Sphinx Club, as well as teammates on the rugby team, and asked how their lives at the College had been "impacted by support from alumni and friends."
You can see a photo album from the luncheon here. (Some good baby shots there, too—don’t miss Joe Klen with his son, Connor, or the newest member of the Castanias family, Ella-Anne.)
And here are Will’s remarks:
"When the members of the Advancement staff asked me to do this talk, I emailed members of Beta Theta Pi, The Sphinx Club, and the rugby team asking how support from alumni and friends has impacted them in their time at Wabash. 
"Of the 120 classmates involved in these groups, I received 65 e-mail responses telling me how alumni and friend support has affected them in their time here at Wabash.  Here are just a few stories:
"Students for Sustainability President Will Logan traveled to Costa Rica for a zoology and conservation study last summer;
"Senior baseball captain Nate Schrader had an internship in Indianapolis along with 30 other students who participated in the Small Business Internship fund this past summer;
"Samar Kawak will be the first Wabash student to study in Dubai this coming spring;
"20 students travel each fall break to New York for a Corporate site and networking trip to meet and shadow alumni;
"Junior Jake Ezell, member of Lambda Chi is currently traveling in Europe studying on a scholarship that allows him to go as many places and see as much art as he can:
"A networking externship and employer visit site for students to Washington D.C. each spring break;
"197 suits, shirts, ties, dress pants, and shoes that have been donated that are available for students for the SuitYourself program in Career Services;
"Senior Sphinx Club member John Dewart has studied in the Amazon Rain Forest, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and most recently Western Europe;
"380 alumni that have joined the online Alumni/Student Networking System with new alumni participants joining each week."
"These names and stories are just a small sampling of how your gifts impact Wabash men every day.  Thank you for participating in the Annual Fund and giving gifts to the college to help make all of these opportunities and many more possible for the students of this college. 
"My story is not much different than the rest of the students I have already mentioned:
"Growing up as a triplet, money has always been tight in my family. With three of us in a private school all the way through high school, college really didn’t help the budget at all. My sister attends Saint Mary’s College in South Bend and my brother decided to attend Miami of Ohio.  Without the help of Alumni and friends of the college, it would be near impossible for me to attend Wabash. 
"People often focus on the monetary aspect of support to the college.  After freshman year, I really began to see support from alumni in different ways; most importantly, through their time. From coming back to mentor young students and giving talks on different topics, to volunteering their time to drive to campus and participate in events in Career Services, to even just coming back for Big Bash each summer to support the college, alumni are always active in what is going on at this special place.
"Most recently, I have seen this strong support with my internship this past summer. I interned for John Reuter, Class of 1980 at Raymond James and Associates in Indianapolis. What amazed me most was not the generosity and willingness to help out a fellow Wabash man from Mr. Reuter, but it was how many Wabash connections he still stayed in touch with and used on a daily basis. 
"Yes, this school may be small, but I believe the support of our alumni and friends is stronger than any other college.
"These examples and stories represent only a handful of students who have had their Wabash career impacted by gifts to the college. There are hundreds of other students at this school who benefit daily from this support and take advantage of the great alumni network that Wabash has.
"I hope these stories illustrate why your investment in the students of Wabash College is worth it."