Teacher Group Honors 3 Wabash Men

Marc Welch, Teacher Education Program Coordinator – The Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education recently honored three Wabash student teachers: Lucas Blakeslee, Nick Durm, and Josh Miracle. All three alumni received Outstanding Future Educator Awards at IACTE’s annual banquet in Carmel. Taking advantage of Wabash’s 9th semester option, they completed their semester of student teaching after graduating last May.  Dr. Helen Hudson, Language Arts Methods Instructor, and Marc Welch, Teacher Education Program Coordinator, also represented Wabash at the yearly banquet.

All three student teachers were chosen by the Teacher Education Committee. Committee member Dr.  Hudson said, “All three of their cooperating teachers found them to be exemplary in their academic expertise, classroom management, and presentation of lessons.”

Lucas Blakeslee, Nick Durm, and Josh Miracle.

While each might be an expert in his respective field, life after student teaching has thrown these guys into situations well-beyond their specific content area—a true testament to a liberal arts education. While Luke majored and licensed in English, he’s fulfilling a maternity-leave position within secondary agriculture, “If I ever doubted that a trained teacher of poetry could also plant soybeans and instruct freshmen on the proper way to artificially inseminate a Yorkshire sow, I now know otherwise. And if I ever doubted the fruit of a liberal arts education, the energy I feel toward my job every morning is clear evidence for it.” Blakeslee commented.

Miracle majored in History, but is temporarily teaching Economics and Computer Applications as part of a maternity-leave vacancy. He noted, “Although I was never trained in business or entrepreneurship, thanks to Wabash, I was more than adequately prepared. My liberal arts education certainly allowed me to think on my feet, continue to learn, and tie my own content knowledge to lessons in both business and entrepreneurship.”

While Blakeslee and Miracle have enjoyed teaching beyond their content areas, both are seeking permanent positions within their respective fields. While not teaching in the secondary classroom, Nick Durm continues to work with youth in a different capacity. He’s currently a Youth Minister at Rock Point Church in Crawfordsville.

In addition to teaching at Westfield High School, Miracle coaches three sports: football, basketball, and track. He’s also sponsoring a group called Young Life and working with alumnus Jake Gilbert ’98 to start a chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. When asked about Westfield, Miracle said, “Westfield has been absolutely amazing. Just like at Wabash, Coach Gilbert continues to be a great mentor and man of principle to everyone here at Westfield.”

During the banquet, guests had the opportunity to hear from Indiana’s teacher of the year. As always, the Wabash guys noted that they were in a minority as many of the student teachers honored were women. Blakeslee observed, “Of the 126 future educators recognized, we joined 25 other men in a 22% gender minority.”

While next year’s professional plans might be uncertain, one thing is certain for each of the three guys this summer: marriage. Miracle joked, “This summer I plan to continue to put all the leadership and training that I have received from Wabash into practice as I will embark on possibly the most difficult endeavor yet, marriage.”

While Miracle focuses on his upcoming wedding and unknown placement for next year, he’s not shaken by uncertainty, “As for now, I can rest easy knowing that I chose to enter the best profession ever, teaching!”

Coldiron ’78 Elected Dermatology Academy President

Brett M. Coldiron, MD, ’78 has been elected President of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dr. Coldiron speaking during a Cincinnati Wabash event.

Coldiron is the founder of Cincinnati’s Skin Cancer Center. He specializes in micrographic surgery and dermatologic surgery.

The Wabash Phi Delt and Biology major lived in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Jersey before finishing high school in Cincinnati and becoming a Wabash freshman. He attended medical school in Kentucky before a medical residency in Cincinnati, dermatology residency in Dallas, and a dermatologic surgery fellowship in Chicago.

He was an active member of the AAD before being elected it’s president.

His wife Lana Long is also a a practicing cosmetic dermatologist. The couple have two children. Coldiron played football for the Little Giants and was a Sphinx Club member.

Coldiron has been active with Wabash College since his graduation.

Wabash Always Fights?!

Classics Professor Matt Sears took his Classics 113/History 210 class to the battlefield as part of their study of ancient warfare. Sears enlisted the help of Physics Professor Martin Madsen who advises the Western Martial Arts Club. Click here to view more photos.

Matthew Sears – The Western Martial Arts Club is more or less a historical battle re-enactment troop. Usually they fight with medieval weapons, but this semester I thought it would be a good idea if we coordinated the activities of the club with my course on Ancient Greek and Roman Warfare.

Accordingly, the members of the club made 26 shields out of wood that more or less the approximate dimensions of Roman legionary shields (the rectangular shaped ones). The more oval shaped pieces can stand in for Greek shields as well. The metal poles are the same dimensions as Greek spears, while the wooden clubs are roughly equivalent to Roman swords.

Today, we tried several experiments. We imagined how a Roman soldier would fight against other Roman soldiers (sword against sword), how Greeks would fight against Greeks (spear against spear), and how Romans would fight against Greeks (sword against spear).

We tried to figure out what men in the rear ranks would have done during an engagement, which of course differed depending on whether they had a sword or long spear. We also had a horde of unarmored barbarians, equipped with all sorts of weapons, charge against disciplined Roman soldiers forming a wall of shields.

Literary and artistic accounts of ancient battles can hardly convey the feeling of actual fighting, and thus it is often difficult for scholars to sort out just how ancient battles played out. Modern films, too, often depict glamorous Hollywood-style fighting that probably bears little resemblance to ancient combat. The aim for today was to try our hand at a little bit of experimental archaeology, leading to a more nuanced understanding of what we have been discussing all semester based on texts and images.

Professors, Students Share Passover Tradition

President Patrick White participates in the traditional hand washing.

Warren Rosenberg, Professor of English – A celebratory Passover seder was held Friday night in Trippet Hall, with over 30 students, faculty, staff, and family members in attendance.

Frank Howland and I organized the event, in part for my Eng 360 Jewish American Literature and Culture class. Bon Appetit’s Chef Jordan made a traditional holiday meal of chopped liver, gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzo balls, and brisket and chicken.

Everyone read from the Haggadah, the traditional Passover prayer book, which tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt, and Prof. David Blix’s dulcet tones were heard singing “Dayanu” (it is enough).

The evening ended with a sharing of concerns for contemporary people who, like the Israelites, are still being oppressed in various ways–Chris White noted we need to keep the elderly and ill in our thoughts, others mentioned those still living in poverty in our country, especially children, and those suffering from a range of addictions.

Honoring Intelligent and Respectful Conversation

Jon Pactor ’71 welcomes guests to the Scarlet Inn and the dedication of The Vic Powell Chair of Intelligent and Respectful Conversation.

Steve Charles—Jon Pactor has come up with some of the best ideas for Wabash I’ve known in my 17 years at the College, the annual national WABASH Day of community service and the recently completed Alumni/Faculty Symposium “Wally at the Wheel” among them.

But when he ran this one by me I wasn’t so sure.

“I’m going to endow a chair,” Jon told me on the phone a couple of months ago. “The Vic Powell Chair.”

I recall an uncomfortable silence. Did he have any idea how much it would cost to endow a chair, a professorship, here? Since when did my friend who drove a Wabash red Volkswagen Beetle have that kind of cash?

“Not a professorship,” Jon said before I could figure a polite way of questioning his sanity. “I’m endowing a real chair.”

I laughed, thinking he was joking, as Jon is wont to do, both verbally and in his choice of fashion.

“In the Scarlet Inn, at the round table, with a plaque on it.”


“Something like, The Vic Powell Chair of Intelligent and Respectful Conversation. What do you think?”

I didn’t know. I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to making a complete fool of myself (except in print)—I’m even more wary when it comes to my friends doing the same.

“Good. I think it’s good idea, Jon,” I said, the way you might tell a friend that singing a solo unaccompanied at a karaoke bar is a good idea.

It was the kind of thing only Jon could think up. A perfect combination of his quirky sense of humor, his love for this place, his affection and gratitude for his teachers, his fearless knack for finding ways to make good things happen. And it all converged with a moment to honor the man who taught generations here the meaning of honesty, civility, integrity, and camaraderie. What was not to like?

And, what the hell, I thought. He’s going to do it anyway.

So I was all in. I even added a photo gallery of the Scarlet Inn in the upcoming issue of Wabash Magazine to celebrate the dedication.

But I worried about how others might respond. So I walked over early Friday morning, either to get a good spot to take photos, or, if things went the way I feared, to be there to support Jon.

I should have known better.

The place was packed. Retired faculty and staff, current faculty and staff, students, alumni. Professors Dick Strawn, Joe O’Rourke, Jim Barnes, Raymond Williams, Dave and Ginny Maharry, Bill Doemel, Tom Bambrey, Robin Pebworth; younger faculty like Rick Warner, Will Turner, Jen Abbott, Dwight Watson, Wally Novak and his wife, Kathleen, Will Oprisko, David Blix, Jim Amidon, Joe Haklin, Brent Harris, Rich Woods, Mike Raters, President Pat White and Chris, among others too numerous to mention.

Tom Keedy had arranged the purchase of the chair and the plaque, and Beth Swift had helped with the photograph—they were there. Mary Jo Johnston and Bon Appetit had donated the food Tessa and Kecia put out for the reception.

They were there to celebrate a man and a family who mean different things to each of us, but much to all.

Marion Powell tries out the chair dedicated to the memory of her husband, Professor Vic Powell H’55.

And best of all, there was Marion (I can’t see her without hearing Vic’s voice: “My child bride”) and their daughter, Carol.

Someone commented to me that this intergenerational group of Wabash men and women had never been together in the same room before. Yet it had a feeling of homecoming.

The only way it could have been better is if Vic had shown up himself. And perhaps he was there, in the hopeful and unexpected ways we carry those we love forward; as Jon said, “Vic Powell, like so many of the professors here—they live in me.”

You’d be hard pressed to find more fitting, remarkable, or enjoyable tribute.


The plaque on the back of the chair reads:

The Dr. Vic Powell Chair
Of Intelligent and Respectful Conversation.
He served and loved Wabash, 1947-2011.

You can click here for photos and quotes from the event.

So, thanks, Jon, from all of us, for your vision and the risks you take to love this place and people. It really was a great idea.

I never doubted you…


“I thought it was important that students see faculty disagree with each other, argue with each other, but clearly respecting each other and enjoying each other’s company.

“Disagreement didn’t mean disregard or enmity. We could disagree and argue, but there was a fundamental respect for each other.”
—Vic Powell H’55