"I hate to say this, but I don't see how I can manage to get a decent piece written by the time you need it. I know I can toss off 500-700 words-those poli sci exams at Wabash taught me well how to do that!-but as someone once noted, a short piece of writing takes more time than a long one. I wish I could participate, but I've been running the embassy that last three weeks and in the few days available just don't think I could do a proper job. My apologies.
Bill Davnie '71
That e-mail message from Bill Davnie '71 was a kinder response than I deserved when I requested an article from the minister-turned-foreign service officer. Bill had once described his job at the embassy in Tajikistan as "journalism for a very small audience," and since that country has been referred to as "the world's most dangerous place for a journalist," I wanted his take on political conditions there. Nevermind that I asked him to do it in less than 700 words and on a ridiculously short deadline two days before he was scheduled to return to the U.S for a reunion with his family. He would have been justified in ignoring my presumptuous request, but I've found that's not the way of most Wabash men, and certainly not those in the foreign service.
So though our jaunt to Tajikistan will have to wait for another day, you'll find Wabash men in plenty of other hot spots in this issue of Wabash Magazine: an army reserve colonel who served with IFOR troops in Bosnia; the first Peace Corps volunteer ever to request assignment to Haiti; an ambassador who helped to quell an election day riot in Guyana; two experts in international counter-terrorism; and a botanist who left the troubled nation of Niger only after grenades began exploding outside his front door. These aren't men who go out looking for trouble. Their courage stems from their desire to serve, and they simply don't let anything get in the way of that commitment. That conviction is one reason why you'll find a disproportionately high number of Wabash men entering the foreign service and organizations like the Peace Corps or involved in economic and agricultural development programs around the world.
We've paired our profiles of these men and their work with stories of a different sort-tales told by students and alumni from their days studying overseas. We believe you'll find in these adventures the seeds of curiosity, commitment, and courage that lead Wabash men to immerse themselves in the culture whereever they live, to face the strengths and shortcomings they find there and in themselves, and to strive to do something to make a difference.
These are the sort of men to whom George Lewes Mackintosh, Wabash College president from 1907-1926, was referring when he said:
"You are our exhibits; you are our epistles, known and read of all men. We are sending you out to represent Wabash College in the world."
That proclamation applies to all Wabash graduates and welcomes you in the entryway of the new Bill and Ginny Hays Alumni Center, a building dedicated to serving alumni and their guests and nurturing the ties between the College and her graduates. Whether you're on campus for this spring's reunions or just passing through, we hope you'll visit this new center created especially for you. And stop by our offices on the second floor of the Hays Alumni Center and tell us a story or two while you're at it.