Wabash Moments

“It’s my duty. It’s what Wabash calls being a responsible citizen. I feel this is my way to show my responsibility.”

Jesus Campos ’03 — U.S. Marine, called up for duty in January


War and Rumors of War

The impending war in Iraq brought the national media spotlight to Wabash when senior art major and Army reservist Ron Kelsey appeared on the cover of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The national weekly journal was interviewing college students with military obligations as they faced the prospect of fighting a war in Iraq—a dilemma faced by thousands of students across the country who had turned to military service as a way to pay for college.

When war broke out, Kelsey wasn’t called up. But classmate Jesus Campos and his Kappa Sig fraternity brother Nikeland Cooper ’05 were. The College allowed Campos to take his senior comps early and, within days, he’d left campus with hopes of completing his degree next year.

But most Wabash students experienced the war like much of America—on television. Several students held a daily vigil at the flagpole on the mall, a ritual reminiscent of the vigils observed by English professors Bert Stern and Don Baker during the Vietnam War. In that spirit, a poetry reading and prayer vigil was organized by Professor Marc Hudson.

History professor Steve Morillo and his colleagues seized the opportunity to discuss with students the issues behind the conflict, arranging for 15 professors from various disciplines to lead a week of informal sessions covering everything from Middle Eastern and American military history to the role of the United Nations and the science behind chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

Religion and philosophy professor Bill Placher ’70 and history professor Peter Frederick briefed current students on how the Vietnam War affected campus when Placher was a student—how much more immediate the threat seemed when student protesters were shot by National Guardsmen at Kent State.

At a final session entitled “The Things We’re Carrying: Personal Reflections on War and the Struggle for Peace,” English professor Tobey Herzog confided to students that coverage of the war evoked in him the most disturbing images and emotions he’d felt since his tour of duty in Vietnam.

“I find myself conflicted as to what the country should do,” Herzog admitted. “That a man like Hussein could be so brutal to his own people seems to call for action, but I’ve also seen firsthand the cost of war. We need to keep in mind those men and women fighting, living in Iraq, those who are dying.”

He reminded students that Wabash men—Philip Ducat ’62, Randy Henze ’65, Michael Hall ’66, Robert Bardach ’67—died in the Vietnam War.

Talk turned to Wabash Marines Campos and Cooper. Freshman Mike Kresslein, also a Marine, spoke of his aspirations to become an officer, to make the military his career, “to make a difference in the world.”

“It puts you on edge though, being on call like this,” the 19-year-old said. “I try to take it a day at a time, and stay focused on my studies. I hope I don’t get called until the semester is over, but when it’s time, I’ll go.”

Kresslein was called up for duty in May.


A Classical Trifecta

The Wabash Classics department was smiling proud at this year’s meeting of the Indiana Classical Conference. First, Lawrence Central Latin teacher Tom Davis ’83 was elected the Conference president. Then Crown Point High School Latin instructor Jeremy Walker was honored as the state’s high school teacher of the year.

Not to be outdone by his students, Wabash classics professor John Fischer was then selected as outstanding professor of the year by the Conference.

“It was really an honor, and quite exciting,” says Wabash classics professor and chair Leslie Day, who was on hand to congratulate her colleague and former students. “Nothing like this has ever happened for one college at the Conference.”


Deja Lew by Justin Lyon

Sometimes it takes a while for things to come around full-circle in the Wabash network.

After his graduation in 1840, Lew Wallace became the College’s best known alumnus of the 19th century and Crawfordsville’s favorite son, serving as a general in the Civil War and writing the classic Ben Hur. An adventurer and traveler, he was also the minister for the United States to Turkey from 1881 to 1885—the first person to move into the new consulate building in Istanbul.

One-hundred twenty-one years later, another Crawfordsville native and Wabash grad is closing the place down. David Arnett ’65, serving in the same post Wallace inaugurated (now called “consul-general”), became the last in the office to occupy the building, as the entire consulate staff moved to a new building better designed to survive terrorist attacks and earthquakes, both real dangers in Istanbul.

Wabash College students doing immersion study in Turkey last March met with Arnett at the consulate, where a photograph of Wallace still hangs. On the eve of the Second Gulf War, conversation turned towards the strained relationships between the “coalition of the willing” and those opposed to war.

“Talk is important. Diplomacy is important. Negotiations are important,” Arnett told the students, “But you reach a point where the talk has to end. And we’re there. The French are not, nor are the Germans.”

Two weeks later, America attacked Iraq.

Students asked how difficult it was for him to present proposals that he disagreed with on a personal level.

“As a Foreign Service officer, you represent the policies of any administration that is in power at that time,” Arnett said. “If you ever do come across a policy that your conscience will not allow you to support—that you are so totally convinced is completely wrong—then you would be honor-bound to resign the position.”

Arnett concluded his time with students by encouraging them to come to their own conclusions about the war and other major issues.

“That’s one of the great benefits of Wabash,” he said. “You really are taught and encouraged to look at all the different points of view, to examine them intellectually and decide for yourself what makes the most sense.”

Read more about the immersion trip to Turkey at the Wabash news site: www.wabash.edu/news/1066


A Window on Two Cultures

A reinvigorated Unidos por Sangre, the College’s Hispanic service organization, staged one of the spring’s brightest spectacles when its inaugural Latin America festival brought together students, faculty, and Crawfordsville’s growing Hispanic community for a thought-provoking and joyous cultural celebration.

Organized by UpS leaders Carlos Carillo and Juan Carlo Hernandez, the fiesta included a talk on Mexican history by history professor Rick Warner and concluded with a variety of dances from throughout Mexico performed the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago.

But Spanish professor and Ecuadorian author Luis Aguilar-Monsalve offered the most moving words of the evening.

“You and I are a product of two cultures,” Monsalve said. “We should never relinquish our beliefs, our culture, our families—it is our obligation to preserve them in a sacred place. But we must also learn what the United States has to offer to us. We have the responsibility to show and to offer our culture as a contribution to the United States, and we have the obligation to be positive members of this progressive society.”

Then Aguilar-Monsalve addressed the group in Spanish, causing many in the crowd to lean forward with keen attention as the professor’s expression and words intensified, reaching into the hearts of the many first and second generation Americans in the Salter Hall audience.

Several students listened to Aguilar-Monsalve’s hopeful words with tears in their eyes. And for those of us whose families immigrated here generations ago, the moment was a window on the aspirations, fears, and emotions or own forbears faced when they sought to find a home and a place in a new country.


A Lady in the Sphinx Club by Mark Shreve '04

What could possibly make the Sphinx Club break with historical precedent and induct its first woman member into the band of brothers? Sphinx Club President Scott Medsker ’03 says Sherry Ross made it simple: “She has a greater love for Wabash than almost anyone that I know.”

The administrative secretary to the dean of students office, Ross can be seen at nearly every football and basketball game, Medsker says. “This winter, she made the trip to Colorado to support the Little Giant basketball team, and she is genuinely interested and concerned about students and about the school.”

For the Ross family, this is nothing new. Ross’s son, Derrick Stout ’94, earned his white pot while he was a student. Ross’s husband, Gary, was inducted as an honorary member in 1992.

“Gary and I have always loved Wabash sports, and we’ve been attending football and basketball games since the mid-80s,” Ross says, “I'm very proud to be an honorary member of the Sphinx Club.”

Read more at The Bachelor Online: http://bachelor.wabash.edu/new/2003s/issue10.pdf