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Hess, Raeburn Raise Alumni “Spirit” for Bell

Little Gian Head Coach Erik Raeburn

Little Giant Head Coach Erik Raeburn

INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – With the demise of the long-running Monon Stag, members of the Indianapolis Association of Wabash men established a new event – the “Spirit of the Monon Bell.”

DePauw alums and administration pulled out of the annual banquet and roast after last year’s event. Then the Indianapolis men swung into action and created the Thursday night event. nearly 130 Wabash men, significant others, and friends gathered at the historic City Market to celebrate the Monon Bell series. See photos from Thursday’s gathering here.

The IAWM welcomed President Gregory Hess, Coach Erik Raeburn and numerous college leaders joining area alums. President Hess lauded the support and enthusiasm of Wabash alumni and introduced the head coach. Raeburn took his time to entertain with self-deprecating remarks and a few jabs at NCAC officials.

He noted that “Wabash Always Fights” isn’t limited to the football team but every student who attends Wabash.

The group enjoyed small plates, Sun King brews, and the camaraderie of Wabash grads of all generations.


That Rings A Bell

That’s not tinnitus sweeping across campus, it’s only the sound of the Monon Bell tolling from the Chapel steps ringing in your ears. Below are the responses of Wabash men — both current students and alumni — when asked what was their favorite Wabash tradition.

Hezekiah Eibert ‘15
“I love Wabash and I love our traditions.  That is one of my favorite parts of this place.  If you were forcing me to choose, I’d say the guarding and the ringing of the Bell the week prior and the week after.  Homecoming is the pride of your house. Monon Bell is the entire campus – everybody alike – unified in keeping that Bell safe and making sure the whole town can hear it ring.”

Steve Ganson ‘73
“The Monon Bell because it was so much fun. My senior year was the year that a few of my former roommates actually stole the Bell from ourselves, from Wabash, and we blamed DePauw. They had it in their apartment and the uproar was unbelievable. They went into the gym and took the Bell right off the balcony there and took it to their room. That had to be the Fall of ’72. Sports Illustrated did a story on the game the following year and mentioned the incident.”

Bell

To the victor…

Wes Hauser ‘15
“Bell Week. The atmosphere on campus is a lot of fun – even the professors get into the spirit by making jokes during class time. Everyone is so chipper. It adds some spice to the semester.”

Ivan Koutsopatriy ‘16
“The Monon Bell. That one is usually a hard one for students because while you are studying anywhere on campus, you can hear that thing ringing non-stop.”

 Jared Lange ‘08
“Protecting the Bell and the interactions with alumni in that week.”

Jason Siegel ‘08
“My favorite week every year is Monon Bell week.  The campus just has a different energy.  The freshmen staying up ringing the Bell, guarding the Bell.  That’s my favorite tradition, the Monon Bell festivities.”

Brent Bollick ‘91
“Monon Bell.  We were 0-4 when I was there, so I kept going back until we won one, which we finally did.  That’s where I’m able to connect with other alums.  The tough part of living down here (in Jacksonville, Fla.) is just how easy it was to stay connected by going to that one game.”

Spencer Burk ‘14
“It has to be the Bell. It has to do with everything on campus. It’s bigger than a game.”

 


A Critical Eye on the Founding Fathers

I sat in on Scott Himsel’s Founding Brothers and Revolutionary Characters freshman tutorial recently, and plopped down in the middle of a lively debate. To observe was almost enjoyable as taking part.

I’m a sucker for the Founding Fathers and became intrigued with this class over the summer when Cameron McDougal ’12 said it was the most influential class he took at Wabash. After a few run-ins with Himsel and discussions about the class, he invited me to attend.

In this class, students are asked to discuss and debate a multitude of topics, first through the words of the Founding Fathers, and then by connecting those words to current events. To paraphrase Himsel, “the historical point and the modern parallel.”

Grant Wolf '18

Grant Wolf ’18

Himsel often asks students to argue in favor of perspectives they disagree with. It teaches them, Himsel says, “to walk around the entirety of the problem” McDougal took the class thinking he could rely on the words of Thomas Jefferson. More often than not, Himsel had him arguing from the position of Alexander Hamilton.

I enjoyed watching these guys think, reason, and react. At times they’d jot down notes or point a finger—that telltale response that informs the world, “I have a thought worth sharing.”

You could tell these guys were enjoying the process, at least as much as the thumb-worn, dog-eared, underlined and highlighted copies of “Something That Will Surprise the World” could attest.

Himsel poked and prodded his students through the discussion with his own questions: “Are you sure?” “Could you take that a step further?” He went so far as to pull out a dollar bill to make a point. He wasn’t stifling or correcting, but giving these gentlemen the freedom to walk around this problem.

Watching people think; to see the wheels turning – to see them reach for a book, thumb through a section, and look for just the right passage in response – is fun. Himsel brings the class to conclusion by relating the day’s questions to current court cases. Words from another century easily can be lost in translation, but these words still carry weight, even when borrowed by sitting Supreme Court justices.

After class, several students came forward and asked nuanced questions—they were not only engaged, but were developing a critical eye.

As this mid-term election season comes to a conclusion tomorrow, we’ve seen plenty of politicians cloak themselves in the language of the Founding Fathers. It’s reassuring to see this group of students grasping the importance of perspective in the ability to discern persuasion from political speak.