Alumni Praise Big Bash Weekend

June 6, 2006

The Third Annual Big Bash Reunion Weekend shattered all previous attendance records with more than 350 alumni returning to campus. The weekend weather was ideal for colloquia sessions, golf outings, picnics, and the sharing of good times and memories.

Attendees have begun to write the Alumni and Parent Relations Office with praise for the weekend. Here are a few samples:

Tim Cobb ’91

After returning from the Big Bash Weekend, I just wanted to send a quick note expressing our thanks and gratitude for the wonderful event put on by the College. Tricia and I enjoyed ourselves immensely and found the weekend to be a very rewarding experience. It was nice to have the reunions be in a somewhat more relaxed environment than Homecoming and lacking in some of the time pressures that are seemingly inherent to a football weekend. We both found it enjoyable to return / experience for the first time at our own pace without ever feeling rushed or pressed for time. We both found the colloquia to be outstanding and learned quite a bit from the three we attended. Tricia has a background in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and was especially impressed by Dr. Bohlin's presentation while I greatly enjoyed listening to Drs. McLean, Mielke,and O'Rourke and their memories of Wabash and her people.

I understand from a comment by Hugh Vandivier during one of our class activities that the Big Bash Weekend is a trial program. Based on our experiences, we would strongly encourage the College to continue the program in addition to events at and around Homecoming Weekend. The Big Bash Weekend was intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding. Indeed, I can't think of an event I've enjoyed more since I graduated in 1991.

Timothy (1991) and Tricia Cobb

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Paul Kimball ’56

I was originally going to write to you to thank you for all your work in putting together such a wonderful weekend, but when I checked into the Wabash web site earlier today, I was quite astounded at the job your staff did in posting all the stories and pix. It so happens that I am a Webmaster myself, so I know what it takes to do all that. So, as we used to say in the Navy in such situations, BRAVO ZULU.

Cheers,

Paul Kimball '56

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Kip Aitken ’91

To the Alumni Office Staff,

I just wanted to thank all of you for the fantastic reunion weekend and to let you know that we all appreciate your tireless efforts. Your work ethic, professionalism, and attitude continue to impress. You guys rock!

In closing, Julie, Abby, and I had a delightful time. Thanks again for the effort.

- Kip

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Bill Cook ’66

This first appeared as a column in the Livingston County (NY) News)

I really did not want to attend my 40th class reunion at my undergraduate alma mater, Wabash College. I’ve been at Wabash quite a bit in the past few years since my son Eric will be a senior next year. I have seen several of my closest friends from Wabash recently, and I knew that none of my friends from the classes just ahead and behind me would be there. Since I have been on a college campus for each of my 40 years since I graduated, there was no nostalgia for academe drawing me to Crawfordsville, Indiana.

However, I was asked to be a small part of the planning by trying to persuade my fraternity brothers to come. I had no excuse for not going. So, there I was last week. I had met lots of Wabash alumni when I was a student because I was a member of the Glee Club, and we entertained at such reunions. I remembered old guys (Wabash is still all men), often wearing funny reunion hats. I recall asking one alumnus what he majored in, and he had no idea. Others did not remember buildings that had been standing when they were students. I feared that some of my classmates and I might appear just as silly to today’s undergraduates as the Class of 1926 did to me 40 years ago.

Well, I had two glorious days. This was not because our reunion was so different than ones I witnessed in the 1960s. It is that I completely misunderstood what it meant to be 40 years out of college and then reunite with some of the guys who were with me during what might be the most significant years of my life.

We wore class shirts and name tags (the print was not quite big enough). My class wore replica green and read beanies, like those we had to wear as freshmen. I guess we looked pretty ridiculous to everyone except other Wabash men, but they were the only ones who mattered. We competed with other reunion classes in the singing of the college’s fight song, "Old Wabash." I can still sing it in my sleep since I sang it hundreds of times with the Glee Club. The Class of ‘66 was the runaway winner of the singing contest.

I spent most of my time with two fraternity brothers, one a successful lawyer in Minneapolis and the other a professor at Butler University in Indianapolis. We told old stories, many probably not quite true. We walked around the Lambda Chi house and recalled wondrous times and idiotic moments. The two are not as distinct now as they were then.

I talked a great deal with this really smart guy who went to Harvard Law School and now practices in LA. I had not seen him since graduation day. It’s fun to talk about serious and frivolous things with people who knew me when I was just beginning to take life seriously. We discovered that both of us were converts to Catholicism, something neither suspected of the other. One of my closest Wabash friends is David Kendall, one of President and Senator Clinton’s lawyers. We get together from time to time. He is the smartest person I know personally, and it is good to be in the presence of profundity, even if it is intermingled with silly tales of water fights.

Forty years change a lot. We praised our physics professor Bob Henry, even though I participated in hanging him in effigy after a particularly tough test. I told a warm story about an economics professor who taught me very little about economics. I greeted joyfully my fraternity’s advisor, who would not let us fire the world’s worst cook.

Of course, there were a lot of folks I would like to have seen who were absent. Almost all the professors we talked about are dead, and the few who are still alive are retired (the last one who overlapped us retired in May at age 74). Only a couple months after graduation, one of my classmates was killed in an automobile accident, and we have lost classmates steadily. Our class president was killed in Vietnam. One guy had two heart transplants and died about 10 years ago. At least two have committed suicide. Some have simply not stayed in contact with the College, and we do not know if they are flourishing, languishing, or dead.

There was an educational component to our reunion. Several alumni talked about matters ranging from the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, presented by a member of the class of ‘56 who was sent to a camp at age 7, to the election of Pope Benedict XVI presented by a religion professor at the College of St Rose (class of 1991). It is right that part of a college’s reunion should be educational.

During a brief visual presentation, a picture flashed on the screen for about two seconds of the Wabash College Glee Club posing before the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Kneeling in front was little freshman Bill Cook. There I was. In my own minuscule way, I am part of Wabash’s history just as Wabash is a part of mine.

I am already counting the days (3652 starting the day I got home) until my fiftieth reunion at Wabash. God willing, I’ll be there with my companions from the time the greatest adventures of my life were beginning.

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Paul Hawksworth ’56

I will admit that three or four years ago, when this notion was first floated I was lukewarm toward it, but having attended last year as a guest and this year as an Alum, I am completely sold on the idea.

You and your staff deserve multiple "SOME LITTLE GIANT" cheers. The planning and preparation was wonderful. My definition of professionalism has always been "attention to detail". In my experience that is what makes the difference between mediocrity and perfection and you and your staff hit Perfection (with a capital "P").

Thank you for a most happy and gratifying experience as we enter the domain of "Golden Little Giants."

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Terry Lowry (wife of Fred LaCosse ’56)

Dear Tom,

As a "Little Giant’s" spouse, I would like to express my appreciation to you for your role in creating such a memorable experience. Obviously, the guys had a great time. To your credit, the ladies did too!

Fred and I are enjoying the website! I’m looking forward to the next BIG BASH at Wabash (1956 @ 55 in 2011?)

Thanks a million.

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Father Michael Reding ’86

Since I've been back, so many people have asked me, "How was the reunion?" And I have to say that it was nothing short of outstanding. I appreciated the timing, the format, the structured offerings, and the unstructured time for socializing. The college offered enough framework to hang a reunion on, and the guys who gathered took it from there. In looking back, I suppose that one piece of the success, for me, was simply: who was there and who wasn't there. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

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Tom Ochsenschlager ’66 (a note to Class Agent Jay Fisher)

Jay,

I know I speak for all the Sixty-Six Sigs, thank you for cajoling us into showing up. I wouldn’t have been there without your encouragement. It was great to see you and Marty and the ol gang again. I had a wonderful time.

Tom

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Larry McNair ’66

To all in the Alumni Office, who worked so incredibly hard on this year's Big Bash, I want to give my deepest thanks. This also goes to my class agents Cal Black, Jay Fisher, and Squirer Neal. You are all some Little Giants. Get some well deserved rest.

During my student years at Wabash, 1962 to 1966, I knew it was a special place. I know that even more today. Those closest to me, my wife and my parents, know how fortunate I am to have attended and graduated from Wabash.

I have furthered my education at two graduate schools, Wichita State University and Virginia Tech. The late great Ben Rogge advised me to attend Wichita State and got me an Earhart Fellowship to attend the doctorate program at Virginia Tech. At Tech I had the great fortune to study under Nobel Laureate James Buchanan. Despite these incredible graduate opportunities, nothing compares with my close relationships with Wabash faculty and students.

Though an econ major and later an econ professor for about ten years at several colleges and universities, I've benefited immensely from knowledge acquired in other disciplines at Wabash. I've referenced history, psychology, philosophy, and religion in my lectures. When I designed and built commercial signs for twenty-five years, I used training from Harold McDonald's art department, Now, after ten years in the corporate world of a regulated utility, my understanding of regulated monopolies being helpful, I am about to pursue a divinity degree and ordination. I'm leaving Division III for Division II. The cross pollination I received at Wabash has been good. My wanderings have been interesting.

 


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