October 8, 2004
From the Director of Alumni Affairs
Early in the month of May, with the first “Big Bash” Reunion Weekend a mere couple of weeks away, the pattern was the same . . . night after night. The Angel of Death, whom I had met “up close and personal” a time or two during my flying days, would sit down by my desk at 2 a.m. and ask the same questions—over and over:
“How many alumni are coming to reunions?”
“What title do you really prefer—‘Big Bust’ (not at a guys’ school) or ‘Micro Bash’?”
“How many did you say are signed up? Isn’t that fewer than the last 50th Reunion on campus?
And this time you invited 10 classes?!”
And, of course, the kickers: “Whose stupid idea was this anyway?” and “What idiot is in charge of alumni affairs?”
Well, the very first “Bash” is behind us now…and, by pretty much every measure, it tuned out to be a fun weekend for all of our alumni and their families. But . . . oh . . . there were times . . . Like the preparation meetings, when we were asking ourselves these questions:
“Can we combine four of the class dinners so we can fill up two tables?
“If no one shows for the Alumni Chapel Sing competition what will we do?”
“Is Dave Callecod the only member of his class who will be here?” (I kept hearing in my mind: “Callecod, party of one, your reunion is ready!”)
So, here it is, the middle of June and we’re collecting as much feedback as we can, already trying to improve on the program for next year. By the numbers, the turnout was every bit as good as we have had in the past when we compared our attendance with that of previous fall and spring reunions. Our Friday Banquet dinner attendance was 300, our Saturday post-Chapel Sing picnic was 300, and the Class dinners Saturday night were almost 450. The weather was great, the campus beautiful, and people just plain had a good time.
This year’s Big Bash was the result of well over a year’s planning and some hard work by a lot of people in College Advancement, Campus Services, and our catering organization, Bon Appetit. Those folks, at every level in the organization, worked their tails off.
But the real beauty of the Bash concept isn’t snazzy programming, nationally recognized speakers, or killer California wine. We had alumni return to campus from Hawaii, Switzerland, and England—we know it isn’t the Sugar Creek beaches, the breathtaking view, or the beer. The formula is simple—focus the entire weekend on our alumni and their families, offer enough programming to keep the weekend moving, and include plenty of story-telling and strolling opportunities. It worked, as you can see in the photos on the following pages.
The key ingredient? You! You make this weekend. And your presence makes it special for your classmates.
Next year? A better Bash! We’ll twist more faculty and student arms to get them more involved. We’ll gently push you to let us know you’re coming early enough so that we don’t have to drink so much Pepto in the final week. We’ll try to have a better, easier-to-use web site. We’ll try to have the fraternities open for you to see.
We’ll do our best to make sure you have fun. Your part in that equation is simple— show up, have fun, and help us make it better for the next group.
Thanks for all you do for Wabash!
Tom Runge ’71
Director of Alumni Affairs
|Don Smith '59, Andy Ford H'03, Stan Huntsman '54, and Jean Williams intone "Old Wabash" during the intergenerational Chapel Sing finale. || |
President Ford gratefully accepts the Class of '54's 50th Reunion gift--a check for $3.5 million--from John Proffett '54 and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Johnson '54.
|Tom Bleau, John Musgrave, Paul Tipps, Jim McDaniel, and Mark Dewart join voices for the Class of '74. || |
Bob Wild '59 catches up with classmate Craig Green.
|Generations sing: Pierce Green '50, Professor David Blix '70, Jonathan Schwarz '05, Bob Bailey '54, Wayne Lewis '06, and John Pantzer '54. || |
|John Burrell '69, Chris McBride '99, and Jeff Birk '74 were among dozens who took to the track for the Fun Run.|
|Class Agent Rob Gorham '69 receives the Dorman Hughes Award from President Ford. Gorham and Class Agent John C. Buford '69 earned the award from the Alumni Affairs staff for "putting forth the best effort of organizing their classes' reunion." || |
|With encouragement from Tom Runge '71, Keith Geiselman boldly soloed for the Class of 84 and earned the loudest applause of the day.|
|Skip Lindeman leads the Class of 64 in "Old Wabash." || |
|Reverend John Ohmer '84 and Father Pat Beidelman '94 presided over Sunday worship services.|