The Grunge Report: Footprints

May 24, 2006

Not long ago, I was reviewing several photos I took in January 2004 on a rare visit to St. Petersburg, Florida. There I had walked on the beach with my sister, Mary Fran, and her daughters. It was a tough day—they all love the beach, but for my sister, this beach walk was bittersweet. She was sick, real sick, and there weren’t many such walks in her future. I couldn’t help noticing that the imprints of her steps in the sand, no matter how hard she put her foot down, eventually faded. To the next beach walker, there simply wasn’t a trace of my sister ever being there. That saddened me, and there wasn’t a thing I could do…about any of it.

I remember that day as though it was yesterday, and so do her daughters. It isn’t the footsteps that are important, it’s the people who make the journey, and the things they do for others that extend beyond their time here.

This edition has many examples of the impact of Wabash men on their journeys through life. This edition also includes the last From Center Hall column for Andy Ford H’03—a man whose impact will be felt here for generations.

At some point late this summer, I’ll take my usual walk across campus with my camera, looking for something interesting or new to share with you. But I won’t get a shot of Andy, or Anne, or their car,or his office. The tide, as it always does, will have gently erased the prints of their footsteps.

Yet for years to come, my camera will capture images that shout the impact of Anne and Andy Ford. Images of new facilities, the arboretum, or the many physical improvements around campus are proof of just how important the 14th President and First Lady were in the history of our Wabash. They have changed Wabash for the good. It’s most telling in the young men who study and grow here today, and in the faculty and staff who help the process along. We know who we are and what we do—we have our swagger back!

When Anne and Andy do return to campus in the future, it will be different for them, too. But I hope they’ll be able to look around and share a private smile. Wabash today is better than when they arrived, and the future is brighter still. Who could ask for a better legacy?

—Tom Runge ’71, Director of Alumni Affairs; runget@wabash.edu

 


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