Legacy is a popular term at Wabash. Those shared experiences within a family often span generations and come with a great deal of pride.
As the fifth Wabash man in his family, Cooper Cochran ’25 knows these feelings well. Sharing Wabash experiences with his family was important when he was deciding on a college.
“Being able to relate to my family that closely is special,” he said. “That’s four years of experiences that we all have shared. It’s brought me a lot closer to them.”
One place where legacies are on display is the Wabash Club of Indianapolis’ annual Leadership Breakfast. Fathers and sons are routinely present, and it has been particularly noteworthy during the group’s recent Man of the Year award presentations.
Twice in the last four years, the honoree has been introduced by his son, also a Wabash man. This year, Frank Kolisek ’82 earned the award and was brought to the stage by his son, Jake ’11. In 2019 Don Shelbourne ’72 earned the honor and had it bestowed by son, Brian ’12.
The introduction wasn’t an easy task for the younger Shelbourne.
“It was weighing on me for sure,” Brian said that day, “I was just trying to do him justice. You think about doing this and you want to do it right. It’s a special opportunity.”
The occasion affects the recipient, too. The elder Kolisek pointed out that impact is sometimes subtle.
“The longer you’ve been out, the more young men you see graduate, and the more you see what Wabash has done for them,” Frank said. “You see what it did for your two sons who went there. Then you realize how impactful the school is, and that kind of grows on you.”
Frank didn’t push either of his sons to Wabash. They made the decision on their own. And the Koliseks are proud of their shared Wabash experiences.
“It’s special,” Frank said after the ceremony. “When I think about those legacy pictures (taken at Commencement), I’ll never forget standing near the Senior Bench with each of my sons. That legacy is pretty cool.”