Steve Jobs – A Liberal Arts Man

The Apple Web Site

Steve Jobs passed away Wednesday.  My son, Jeremy, an Apple store manager in Denver, Colorado, told me people were showing up at the store bringing flowers.  That’s a retail store several hundred miles from Cupertino and all that is Apple.

It gives you a small sense for the loss many of us are feeling.

Steve Jobs is one of a kind for sure.  Apple, and it’s impact on the world, is still there today.  Sadder, sure.  But still a difference maker in our lives.

What has all this to do with Wabash?  Steve Jobs is one of us.  A liberal arts guy.  Reed College, Portland, Oregon.  Steve dropped out but never left, so to speak.  One of his favorite courses?  IT?  No, calligraphy.  And there’s an Apple connection there as well.

As the Commencement speaker at Stanford a few years back, he laid it all out.  You can see it here.

“Connect those dots”…

“It won’t be easy, it will be worth it”…

“Stay Hungry.  Stay foolish.”…


Steve Jobs…meet Bill Placher…and Vic Powell.

We’ve Lost Vic Powell H’55

I believe Giants roam the earth.  In fact, I have proof positive.  I have met a couple – on college campuses, no less.

Father Ted Hesburgh is one of them.  President Emeritus of Notre Dame, he is humble and larger than life in person.

The other is a guy named Vic Powell.  A true Wabash legend.

Both of those Giants are in their 90s.  One is no longer physically with us.

The Wabash flag at half-staff today

We lost Vic Powell today – October 6, 2011.  We knew it was coming.  As you can imagine, it wasn’t Vic’s mind and soul that gave way.  It was simply time for him to join Brigance in the heavenly debate club.

I often reflect that the people who have had a profound impact on my life are the ones who challenge me, through thought and action, to be more like them.  To be better.  To be more understanding.  More compassionate.  More committed.  More spiritual.  More of everything.

It’s one thing to encourage another person to be good.  It’s another to be so good, in so many ways, that those around you get caught up in it…feed off of it…get stoked by it.

Father Ted and Professor Vic – two such men.

I took several classes at Wabash from Vic.  I can’t remember any of them.  No outlines, no tests, no assignments, no titles.  But those things just aren’t important.  I remember two things vividly.  I remember standing up in front of my classmates and attempting to communicate.   And I remember Vic’s presence and his ability to effortlessly do what he was trying to get us to do.  Vic could certainly communicate…in a magical way.  What you always saw was a great delivery – an instant connection to those around him.  What you had to look hard for was the intense research and preparation.

I have often thought that when the inevitable happens, and Vic and Father Ted make that trip to heaven, that I would be lucky enough to somehow not know – maybe sleep through the day or something.  Wake up and they’re declared saints.  Cowardly, I know.  It’s like avoiding a root canal or a checkride.

Will there still be a special place called Wabash after Vic?  Sure.  Take comfort in the fact that there are about ten “junior Vics” on campus.  But you know…it just won’t be quite the same…and it shouldn’t be.

Giants do roam the earth…and we lost one today.


IT Consulting – $500 an hour!!!

“Hey, Grunge, where can I find XXXXX on the new web site?”


Most of the information for alumni is found under the second level menu “Alumni”.  So, if you’re on the main page, just click on “Alumni”.


Alumni Quick Links

If you then click on “Alumni Quick Links”, you’ll find a whole host of web pages.  Everything from the Annual Fund to Assisting Admissions (including a referral) to the Fine Arts Calendar to Regional Groups to WABASH Day is here.

Note that the link to the current issue of the Bachelor and to the Reunion page (Big Bash) are also here.

Take a minute or two, while your significant other is watching “Dancing with the Stars”, and pull it up on your laptop or iPad.

Consider it homework!



Homecoming Floats – Early Last Saturday

It’s was a little after 6:00 AM on Saturday morning, October 1, 2011.  Homecoming.

The Betas With Miles To Go Before They Sleep

The Beta pledges still have almost three hours before the judges come by to look at their float.  What you can’t see is all the different pieces, yet unassembled, on the ground.  By contrast…

The Phi Psis had a full front yard

The front of the Phi Psi house was all quiet.  No sign of pledges anywhere. They were finished for the evening.  Although, the lights on inside might lead one to believe they hadn’t been done for long.

The Liberal Arts in action!  More than one way to build a float!


Grunge Here – Mea Culpa!

So…here’s how it goes/went.

Once upon a time…the Grunge Report had 9 faithful readers…and the Grunge grew increasing challenged to think of anything new and of any interest.  So the Grunge saved some semblance of respect and quietly the Grunge Report morphed into…

And then my friend Howard Hewitt told the Grunge…!@#$%^&*()&(#^%!!!

OK – enough of that!!!

The Grunge Report is back! And an extra benefit is we’ve added a blog for alumni news as well.  So please, tune into the Alumni Blog to see who is in the news and come here for, as Howard says, a photo and a “snarky” comment or two from yours truly.

Thanks go to Howard for setting this up and to Kim Johnson for the great site.  She’s a master of Photoshop, if you can’t tell.  Those photos of the Grunge are almost…

See you tomorrow.  Thanks to you 9 for sticking with me…