They say that when you come to Wabash, your classmates will become your friends. But you guys were my brothers. Bill Wheeler 83
The last time I corresponded with Metropolitan Life Senior Vice President and CFO Bill Wheeler was a few days after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Bills grim task, within sight of the fallen towers, was to determine how many policyholders had been lost in the attack so that compensation could be processed quickly.
Its something you have to do in this business, he said, keeping emotions in check and doing his job so that families would at least have financial relief in the face of such loss.
Bill Wheeler is not given to emotional hyperbole. But when he took the podium at the reunion of the 1977 and 1982 Little Giant football teams on the night of this years Monon Bell victory and referred to his teammates as his brothers, there were tears in his eyes.
Only an hour earlier during a rousing chapel celebration, 2002 Little Giant All-American wide receiver Ryan Short 03, rapt in the confident glow of the Little Giants lop-sided win over DePauw, described his fellow players and coaches in similar terms.
What youve heard about the 2002 Wabash football team is true, Short said. We really are a family.
That sense of family and the emotional meaning of their time together will only increase with time and age, as I discovered later that night as men like Wheeler, Tom Dyer 78, Dave Harvey 78, and Tom Broecker 83 spoke during their reunion.
Boys build their strongest friendships playing together, and men form some of their strongest relationships working together. Little Giant team sports merge those two worlds in a bracing synergy few of these students will experience again. The best Little Giant teams bring out the best in each mandedication, endurance, self-sacrifice, mutual support, and physical, mental, even spiritual excellence. As the 1982 teams trainer, Bob Burkhart, noted during his remarks at the reunion: When a team plays together like that, it exemplifies what Wabash College is all about.
Ive missed you, and you miss each other, Burkhart told the returning players. Thats why you all came back together tonight. Youve done something no one can ever take away from you. I want to encourage you to be faithful to the Collegeto the values you learned hereand to each other.
Part of our mission at Wabash Magazine is to keep our readers in touch with those values, with each other, and with their College. Thats our focus in this issue as we bring you news of a remarkable autumn on campus, tell you about innovative ways alumni are connecting with current students, reacquaint you with some of the Colleges history, and even ponder why it is men sometimes let so much time go by without revisiting those valued friendships and connections.
We hope youll consider these pages an encouragement and an invitation to keep in touch.