Rousing Start for Big Bash
by Richard Paige
June 6, 2014
Perhaps they didn’t amble across the stage as quickly as they might have during their Commencement, but the Wabash College Class of 1964 enjoyed its time in the spotlight at Friday’s Big Bash Banquet.
Each member of the class was recognized with his 50th reunion medallion, and the group stood tall when presenting President Gregory D. Hess with a check for $2.23 million.
The check presentation capped a five-year 50th reunion gift campaign, which was headed by gift chair Dudley Burgess.
President Hess accepted the $2.3 million gift from the class, saying, “1964, what a year! Tonight, you are young again. You are what you have always been when you stepped on this campus 54 years ago – you are Wabash Men.”
Friday’s Big Bash Banquet featured alumni from as far back as the Class of 1949 (Dick Cherry), a sizeable contingent from the 55th reunion Class of 1959, including a record-setting number of 10-year reunion men from the Class of 2004.
The guys want to be back with each other,” said Class Agent Jacob Pactor ‘04. “It was about building that spirit of community. It’s the personal connection that is a big deal. You do as much as you can to make sure that people feel like they are wanted, like they are connected. To build off the energy that other classes bring, that the College has overall, is a key component to linking all of us.”
President Hess welcomed all alumni back to campus — those from near and far, including six foreign countries.
“Our time honored commitment is to educate men and to model the Gentlemen’s Rule,” said Hess. “Think of how this College not only educated, but brought out the very best in you. In coming to Wabash you experience a fundamental truth that the liberal arts education comes from your being here together.”
Saturday activities at Big Bash included the now-legendary Alumni Chapel Sing competition, during which each class sings “Old Wabash” on the steps of Pioneer Chapel. The event concluded when all reunion alumni gathered on the steps to sing the College fight song en masse.
Each class gathered on its own for a reception and banquet on Saturday night. Scarlet Yarns, Wabash’s audio history project, continued throughout the weekend in the Lilly Library as men came to share their greatest Wabash memories, and alumni-led colloquia sessions rounded out the weekend events.
The weekend concluded with Sunday’s Chapel Service and Awards Brunch.