"No Ordinary Critter":
"There is only one way for an ordinary critter to become a Wabash Man, and that is to enroll and study at Wabash," reads the citation on Bob Mitchum's honorary alumnus certificate, "but you are no ordinary critter."
Credited with founding the Wabash music department and making the Wabash Glee Club into "an instrument of professional quality combined with irresistible youthful spirit and showmanship," Mitchum H'59 was one of the most beloved, charistmatic, and versatile leaders the campus has ever known. His career began in 1947, when students decided to form an active Glee Club and sought out Mitchum to direct it. He was hired, but, as Mitchum once said, "It wasn't until 1956 that I was relieved of my extra duties of dormitory director and maintenance man for the Chapel."
In album notes to one of the Glee Club's record albums from the "Mitchum Years," Earl Arnett '62 writes:
"No mention of the Wabash College Glee Club would be complete without the inclusion of its director, R. Robert Mitchum. "Mitch" is the heart and soul of this organization. Chewing a cigar, leading the Wabash Band or directing . . . the Glee Club, enthusiasm emanates from his large frame . . . At Wabash, we're proud of the Glee Club; it's the most representative organization on our campus. The close relationship between "Mitch and his boys" symbolizes the interacting community of scholars and students on which we especially pride ourselves."
And if you look at the pictures from the Glee Club trips to Europe, you can see they were a lot of fun!
Mitchum left the College briefly for a stint as a golf professional at an Indianapolis golf course, but he returned in 1974 as Alumni Director-and earned a whole new set of admirers.
Upon his death after a battle with cancer, College President Lewis Salter H'57 wrote of his contribution to alumni relations and his courage:
"His own zeal and loyalty to the College has given the proverbial fierce loyalty of Wabash alumni renewed vigor and new coherence. He has been enormously helpful to me, a novice president of a college not my own alma mater, as I needed to get acquainted with large numbers of alumni in a short period of time. Bob seemed to know them all
"'Wabash Always Fights' is a cherished motto born of athletic struggles, often against superior forces. Bob Mitchum's courageous fight against the inexorable advance of cancer has given that adage new meaning, and has enriched the lives of all privileged to be around him. The manner of his dying has been a credit both to his Christian faith and to that Marine Corps tradition which was part of his formative years. Wabash is a stronger college because of his service and influence."