Reflection on Big Bash 2017

Alumni Chapel Sing

Alumni Chapel Sing

Ian Ward ’19-

With Big Bash 2017 in the books and being able to meet Wabash greats and watch friendships reignited, it reminds me Wabash is special.

You can have a conversation with an alum celebrating his 50th reunion about fraternity tradition, having only met five minutes before. Everyone has a connection to common experience even with a 40, 50, or even 60-year gap. Nearly 42% of living alumni in the class of 1967 came back for their 50th reunion. It may be a number, but at a college where we have only 12,000 living alumni, 42% is amazing.

Three days, and five meals, and 320+ alumni descended on campus to relive college days for a few hours, and renew their love for this place. I heard countless stories, from pledge brothers helping an injured brother get ready for a date, to hearing how freshmen had to fight sophomores to keep their treasured freshman pot. I could tell the great traditions that we hold today were built on the shoulders of these generations of Little Giants. There was a feeling of camaraderie in every room, whether it was men from 2007 hanging out with Wabash men from 1967, or just the class of 1987 together. I could feel the love the alumni have for this place, and readily shared it with people like me; a current student. How else can you explain alumni coming from 36 states and three countries just to meet up for a mere 60 hours? How else can you explain a record setting $9.6 million 50th reunion gift?

You can’t. Speaking to alumni from the 1960’s up to the class of 2012, it’s apparent that the common links that connect Wabash men are there, from how they got here, to their paths on campus. They are all unique, highlighting the individuality of this place. There is no one word or phrase to describe it; it’s just SPECIAL.

At Big Bash 2017, I saw the paths alums have taken from remaining in Crawfordsville, to living across the globe. The choices they have made like going to law school 15+ years after graduating from Wabash. Then I thought of the contributions these men have made to society. They have made medical devices to save lives, run political campaigns, and defended our freedom on the battlefield. Through their support they have provided generations of students with top of the line facilities, the ability to immerse ourselves in travel, help us get jobs through Career Services, and provide the best education we can get. It makes me wonder what my story will be? What will I do and how can I, as a Wabash man, contribute to such a special place in my heart?

As a rising junior, I don’t really know what my path will look like in 2019 when I graduate, however, after listening to others, and contemplating for myself, it is apparent that many Wabash men feel this way at some point. It’s growing up. It’s becoming a man. It’s learning. It’s thinking critically. It’s never selling myself short.
This is what makes Wabash special, not the buildings and trees, but the company you keep, the connections you make, the ability you think for yourself. To paraphrase current Dean of Students Mike Raters ’85, “Be gentlemen guys, you are Always Wabash men.”

Competing for a Greater Cause

Christina Franks – On Saturday, the Little Giants will fight to keep the Monon Bell for the eighth year in a row. But on Tuesday, the Wabash community came together to help people who are fighting for their lives.

Aaron Stewart-Curet '17 donates blood regularly, but the rivalry "Bleed for the Bell" incorporates makes it a little more fun.

Aaron Stewart-Curet ’17 donates blood regularly, but the rivalry “Bleed for the Bell” incorporates makes it a little more fun.

Every year during Monon Bell Week, Alpha Phi Omega puts together a campus blood drive or “Bleed for the Bell.” And keeping true to the spirit of the week, DePauw hosts the same event on their campus, and it turns into a competition for a great cause.

“Yes, it’s really cool that we could beat the school down south in donations,” Nicholas Morin ’18 said. “But at the same time, what it comes down to is helping people out.”

As Alpha Phi Omega Vice President of Service, Morin is the coordinator for this year’s event and loves the idea of giving back in such a big way in a small amount of time.

Last year, 96 people showed up to donate blood during “Bleed for the Bell.” Morin’s goal this year was to reach 100 donors.

“Every pint donated is three lives saved,” he said. “If we have 100 donors, that’s 300 lives. Wabash can make a difference.”

Students, staff, and faculty filed into Knowling Fieldhouse throughout the day. Some of the students had never given blood before and thought this would be the best opportunity. For others, the fact that this was a competition against DePauw just made their regular habit of giving that much better.

Robert Reed ’19, who had given blood before believes the concept of “Bleed for the Bell” with DePauw during Monon Bell Week says a lot about the character of the two schools. “Getting both the schools together and doing this all as a group says something not just about ourselves but us as a group,” he said, “that we can come together for something bigger, which I like.”

Workers saw a steady stream of donors throughout the day and, for the most part, were able to get students into chairs and on their way fairly quickly.

“It’s always beneficial,” Tim Riley ’19 said. “Blood banks always seem to be short, and it’s something we can easily do with about half an hour of our time.”

To which another donor quickly pointed out:

“And it’s one more way to beat DePauw.”

Randolph ’16 Reflects on Path Through Wabash

Clayton Randolph is a senior at Wabash, majoring in History. During the summer of 2014 he interned in the Communications and Marketing Office. This summer he is interning at Angie’s List in Indianapolis. He serves as the radio play-by-play voice of Wabash football road games and sideline reporter for home games. He handles play-by-play duties for basketball and baseball on both radio and internet video. He is entering his second year as the General Manager of 91.3 FM WNDY—Wabash’s student radio station. He has his own radio show and announces high school sports on Thunder 103.9 WIMC and 106.3 WCDQ in Crawfordsville.

Clayton Randolph – When I started applying to colleges during my senior year in high school, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I was certain Wabash was not on the list. I was applying to many schools with a Journalism/Broadcasting major in Indiana: Butler, Purdue, University of Indianapolis, DePauw, and Ball State. Wabash was an after-thought. It was easy for me to overlook them. I had grown up in Crawfordsville, my family was here, and most of all, it was all male. Those factors for an 18 year old were huge. Had it not been for my mother encouraging me to apply, I may not have ended up here. It’s fun to look back at that journey and question what was actually going through my head.

And now as I enter my senior year, it seems like yesterday I was being rung in, meeting new people, and dreading what Wabash was going to be like. There’s no doubt Wabash challenges you every second of every day, but it has also provided me with opportunities that few get to experience while in school, and for that, I am extremely thankful.

It was after my mother and I attended Top Ten day everything came into perspective. The alumni support offered at this institution was out-of-this-world. And to this day, it still amazes me. I have always been interested in broadcasting—particularly sports broadcasting. I knew Wabash did not have a major in this area. It still doesn’t. I trusted the alumni support system to help get me where I wanted to go. We do have many alumni in the Journalism field, and my family and I knew that relationships were of high importance when finding a job. So I gave it a shot. After my first week, I was put in contact with Sports Information Director, Brent Harris, who gave me an opportunity to immediately begin broadcasting Wabash sports.


Randolph interviewing NCAA President Mark Emmert during a football game in 2014.

Other institutions wanted me to apply, or interview, or wait until I was older to even handle a microphone—not to mention there were hundreds or thousands of other kids waiting in line to get their chance at developing into the next Al Michaels. As a freshman at Wabash, I got the opportunity instantly. I didn’t have to wait. The support system was already taking shape. And now after three years, many road trips, and gallons of Jenny’s ice cream later, Brent and I have forged a friendship I hope will last for years to come once I graduate—all while refining the necessary skills to excel in the Journalism field. You don’t find that everywhere, but at Wabash, it’s a staple—a commitment to young men. If it wasn’t for many of the employees in the Communications and Marketing Office, I still would not be where I want. Kim Johnson, Howard Hewitt, and Richard Paige have been instrumental in preparing me for my years after Wabash. And just like Brent, those friendships will last forever, because that’s what Wabash takes pride in. That’s why you come to a school like this. You meet people who care and want to help get you where you want go. It’s why Wabash is unique and stands out among its peers.

To this day, I can walk into any of their offices and have a conversation about anything. It’s hard for me to picture doing that any many other places. You’re going to make friendships with people wherever you go, but Wabash has built a reputation on these relationships. Yes, we educate doctors, lawyers, CEOs, etc. but those alumni will agree—friendships and relationships are the most important thing about Wabash and pushing you to do great things. If you don’t reach out and use the resources afforded to you, there won’t be as many friendships. Just in the past few years, those friendships have given me the chance to meet an alum working as a Producer for CBS News, a sports broadcaster for the Indiana Pacers, an FBI agent, the President of the NCAA, and an ESPN personality. Again, had I gone elsewhere, most of those opportunities would not have been present. Even traveling with the football team to broadcast their games would not have been a possibility.

People will tell you when finding a job, it’s about who you know. At Wabash, you have a chance to meet many alumni in various roles across the country. They are there for students to use and reach out to—because at one time, they were doing the same thing, and having the same struggles. This probably reads like recruitment mail—it’s not. Nobody forced me to write this, I wanted to share how important Wabash is. When you come to a place as special as Wabash, don’t sell yourself short. Go after it. What’s the worst that could happen? Wabash is there to help you—be sure to use it. And, personal thanks should be extended to those who have helped me.


Liberal Arts Action: Classical Warfare

IMG_2878 Students in Professor Bronwen Wickkiser’s course Paideia: Citizen, Soldier and Poet in Classical Greece took to the Mall to try their hand at hoplite warfare.  Success on the ancient battlefield depended upon each solider working in unison with his comrades, organized into tight rows called phalanxes.  In classical Athens and Sparta, as well as other city-states, hoplite warfare was essential to the polis.  Each citizen was required to fight, and the use of phalanx warfare reinforced the idea that each citizen was as integral to the well-being of his city as the guy next to him.

The poet Tyrtaeus (7th century BCE) puts it best:
“Let each man, closing with the enemy, fighting hand-to-hand with long spear or sword, wound and take him, and setting foot against foot, and resting shield against shield, crest against crest, helmet against helmet, let him fight his man chest to chest, grasping the hilt of his sword or of his long spear.  … A common good is this for the whole polis when a man holds firm among the fighters, unflinchingly.”

In order to get a feel for this type of warfare, Wabash students armed themselves with shields, spears, and swords, formed into two opposing armies (Athenians vs. Spartans) and advanced against each other, experimenting with various maneuvers.

IMG_2883Lessons learned: how difficult it is to move with heavy armor (students wore backpacks full of books to approximate the typical weight—65 lbs.—of hoplite armor), how useful a spear can be at farther range vs. a sword at closer range, and even the sounds of ancient battle, including marching songs (paeans) that armies used when advancing against the enemy.   One student commented that the hardest part of the experience is the discipline necessary to stay in line and not break rank.

Click here to see more photos from the battlefield.

Grand Ideas Mentor German

We have all heard it before – the Wabash alumni network is an influential group of men across the globe ready to offer advice, internships, and personal mentoring. Is it true or just marketing hype?

Jacob German ’11, an associate in the Governmental Services and Public Finance Department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP offers his insight into Wabash, Law School, and the alumni who have helped him get there.

How have Wabash alumni influenced and mentored you in your young career?


Bob Grand ’78 and Jacob German ’11

Bob Grand ’78 has been a fantastic friend and mentor for almost a decade. Kyle ’11, his son, is my pledge brother. Bob always came back around campus and the Beta house, offering advice and opportunities to eager students. Even though Bob’s world moves a million miles a minute from coast to coast, he still took the time to discuss with me the pros and cons of law school and the changing dynamic of the law practice. Bob guided me through the difficult waters of the current legal market, helping me realize the intersection of my passion (government/politics) with a niche of a legal practice.

For years, Scott Himsel ’85 challenged me to an intellectual duel on the nuances of Supreme Court decisions and policy determinations. He is the best at taking a stand on one side of the argument, possibly even agreeing with your point of view, and then completely turning your argument against you. In that moment you realize he has taken you exactly where you did not want to go – the weeds, alone. But it really is a fascinating mental exercise. The great thing about his class is that he cares as much about the students as he does about teaching the students. He is our law advisor – law  school, legal profession, applications, letters of recommendation, bar applications, etc. He’s our guy, in our corner.

David Shane ’70 played football with my dad at Wabash nearly 40 years ago. Dave has been a legal professional in Indianapolis for a long time; he sat with me, and strategized about what firms to apply to, what other jobs to look at, what area of the law would I enjoy and excel. He took me under his wing and made sure I had all the information while trying to make my way as a lawyer. He helped me reach out to people all over the city. Without him, I would not have made half of my connections.

Nelson Alexander ’90 took the time to meet with me. I am not sure if he would remember our 20-minute conversation three years ago. But, it made a tremendous impact on me. Every person needs someone in their life to be completely, bare bones, honest with them. Nelson was that to me. He discussed the legal marketplace in a way I had never heard it described. He discussed the number of opportunities in firms around Indianapolis. He was very frank. It helped me see the complete picture.

I worked for Jeff Been ’81 at the Legal Aid Society of Louisville. He takes Wabash guys interested in the law, puts them to work, and allows them to interact with clients. I also worked for Greg Miller ’83 at his law firm. He allowed me to meet clients, research, and help with his law practice. That was the first time I think I fully grasped the volume of work in a legal practice.

I mention all of these experiences to say this – I am a big believer in picking your own board of directors. Pick people around you who you trust and who are “for you.” But, that is not what networking and mentoring are all about. We, as students and rising professionals, need to have people in our life who take us under their wing, or tell us the real truth about the legal profession, or throw us in the deep end and let us work, and finally be our friend when things are tough. My professional life would not be the same without each and every one of these guys and many, many others.

How many Wabash alumni do you work with in your current position?

I work primarily with three Wabash alumni. Jeff Qualkinbush ’88 is our department administrator. I work on a daily basis for Brian Burdick ’91 and Bob Grand. Brian is the Indianapolis managing partner and Bob is the firm managing partner. Both are practicing governmental service attorneys.

Jacob German '11

Jacob German ’11

How did Wabash prepare you for law school and your current position?

Wabash engrained a deep sense of time management. Law school is unique because nothing really matters until the final exam; however, if you don’t continue to work and read and interpret all semester, there is no way to succeed on the final. Wabash demanded a masterful grasp of reading and writing, not only persuasively but effectively. My job requires a high attention to detail. We use details to form the foundation of arguments, which persuades our different audiences.

What advice do you have for a student considering Wabash?

Wabash College is unique. Be it the all-male institution, our campus involvement, our alumni network, our competitiveness, our swagger. It’s just different. Wabash is not for everyone. We want the do-ers, the guys who are involved, passionate students. Wabash is not some place you go for a passive education. You are one of 900. You matter.

What I tell a student is jump. Come test yourself. Try, on a small scale initially, to remove yourself from safe harbors. Your life will be better because of it. The more you put yourself out there and make that connection, the better you are the next time and the next time. People think certain people are better in interviews than others or are better at networking than others. The difference between people who are good and who aren’t is practice. The people who take the leap and put themselves in those situations grow and mature and find success. That’s why I encourage students to come to Wabash. It forces you to leap.

What’s your number one tip for networking?

Diversity is good. Far too many people confine themselves to comfortable groups. Branch out. Our biggest asset in the beginning of our professional careers are alumni who are older than we are. They know the game and who keeps score. But, don’t forget about your peers. Stay in touch. We are the next group in line to take over, and if you stay in touch with your peer group, they will be the decision-makers of tomorrow.

New Furniture Delivered

Just in time for Big Bash, many of the public areas of campus received a facelift that included fresh paint, new seating, display cases, and tables.

A generous donation from an alum brought east coast interior designer Sarah Kennedy Dolce from shea dolce interiors to campus earlier in the year and again last week to unload and set the semi-trailer full of new furniture.

Dolce collaborated largely with First-Lady Chris White to identify spaces on campus that could benefit from new décor. All of the furniture came from Chaddock, in Morgantown, North Carolina, one of the few American made furniture companies remaining.

Among the buildings to receive new furniture the Fine Arts Center, Trippet Hall, Center Hall, Detchon, Lilly Library, Baxter Hall, and Caleb Mills House.

To see photos of the furniture installation click here.

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.

Science Teachers Recognized

The Admissions Office and Wabash College Science faculty partnered to host its firstScience Teacher Recognition Program.

Students in science courses were invited to nominate teachers who had a profound influence on their high school science careers. Those teachers received a letter inviting them to come to campus for a recognition lunch and to learn more about the science curriculum at Wabash. Faculty members hope that these teachers, in turn, will refer good students to the College.

Sixteen teachers from across Indiana (and one from Illinois) had the opportunity to sit in on multiple science classes, tour the biology and chemistry facilities in Hays Hall, the physics and math facilities in Goodrich Hall, and the neuroscience facilities in Baxter Hall, along with touring the rest of campus.

At the recognition lunch the students were reunited with their high school teachers and enjoyed conversation and networking. Each teacher present received a small gift from the College honoring their work and influence on science students.

The afternoon session included a panel discussion with faculty and staff about pre-health professions, the dual degree engineering program, graduate school, summer internships, and off-campus opportunities. The teachers had the chance to ask questions about science and liberal arts, unique science opportunities at Wabash, and which students might be a good fit for the College.

A local teacher from Crawfordsville High School was happy to be part of the program. “Getting the letter of recognition was enough for me. The day today has just been icing on the cake. Even though I live in Crawfordsville, this is my first time on campus.”

The science faculty and Admissions Office hope to partner again next year for a similar program.


Under a Shady Tree

I wandered around campus today attempting to find something “new” to photograph in the splendid Fall color we’re experiencing right now (see here). However I was feeling rather uninspired.

I have a particular route I tend to follow when I go out on these photography excursions (perhaps that’s part of my problem) that begins going out the back door of Kane House toward MXIBS and the Allen Center then through the south side of campus to Fine Arts, north on Grant Avenue, through the arboretum, then finally through the mall.

As I approached the arboretum and looked across the colorful trees a song from one of my two-year-old daughter’s favorite artists, Laurie Berkner, came to mind – Under the Shady Tree. So there I was, near the end of my trek, uninspired, and now singing “Under the shady tree, you and me… lying under a shady tree, you and me… do, do, do, do.”

I remembered my first official trip through the arboretum three years ago just a few weeks after I started at Wabash. There was a young man “studying” (sound asleep) under one of many quiet giants shuffling in the breeze. I shot a couple photos of him and moved on. But today I thought back about that day and wondered how many other young men had studied under that shady tree.

I just finished a project that will be hitting mailboxes shortly before the Bell Game in November. It’s an exciting announcement about The Bachelor. During the design phase of the piece I spent a lot of time searching for just the right clip of The Bachelor to include as part of the artwork.

In putting that piece together, I met several young men from generations ago through their writing as they developed their voices, their passions, and their perspectives under those trees.

Then I started having an “if these trees could talk” sort of moment thinking about all the young men turned older who have made up the face of this campus – doctors, lawyers, politicians, business owners, pastors, fathers, husbands, and friends who “grew up” under the protection and guidance of the “shady tree” that is Wabash.

To the untrained eye, they just look like leaves set to change color and fall to the ground, only to be replaced in the spring with a new greener leaf to take on the charge of providing shade. I see professors who go to great lengths to challenge young minds to be better and think bigger. I see staff that go out of their way to nurture and guide. I see coaches who care more about character than points in the paint or third-down conversions. I see alumni who lead by example with their gifts and their time so the next generation of men among the trees can learn from the best to be the best.

They don’t disappear in the Fall. They aren’t replaced. They may no longer be with us on campus physically but they’ll always be part of the soil that gives the new leaves life. Part of the network that works together to provide the shade this year, next year, and for many to come.

Hmmm… all that from a few yellow leaves and a simple song.

I guess my walk on this beautiful Fall day wasn’t so uninspiring after all.

From Gray To Green

Brent Harris – Nearly half of the final base layer is in place on the football field. We should see the field change from gray stone to a mix of brown sand and stone, then to green FieldTurf toward the end of this week or the early portion of next week. View the latest photos from the project here. Tom Runge shot a few photos this morning as well, click here.

We will have more photos when the first pieces of turf are ready to be put into place.

The track and field areas surrounding the field have also had finishing touches put in place. Drainage grates in the long jump and triple jump pits are ready to catch the sand after the first Little Giant athlete to makes his mark. Concrete for the pole vault runways have settled and await Wabash outdoor record-holder Matt Knox ’13 to clear the bar.

The upgrades are not limited to the field. The steel support for the new scoreboard is in place. The modules will be added over the next two weeks. New 25-second clocks will also be installed this week.

Just west of the football, behind the Knowling Fieldhouse, work on the baseball stadium continues. The final storm drains have been placed in trenches. The crew is ready to strip the topsoil off the old practice field. Once that is completed, concrete molds for the walls and dugouts will be put in place. It’s hard to believe that in eight months the 2011 Little Giant baseball team will take the field against Wilmington College for the opening game at the new ballpark.