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.”