Alums Impress Top 10 Student Visitorsby Howard Hewitt • November 1, 2013
- Wabash welcomed 140 high school seniors to campus for the Top Ten Scholarship Program. Students must rank in the top ten percent of their class to qualify for the event. President Gregory Hess was on hand to offer a special welcome to students and their parents. He said, 'Wabash is a little college with a giant footprint. Many schools will make you lots of promises. We will make one singular promise. We will take you seriously. But only if you do.'
- Brian Edelman '82, Vice President of Corporate Finance and Investment Banking at Eli Lilly and Company gave the Top Ten keynote address. In his remarks he spoke of his time at Wabash and what he sees as the value of a liberal arts education. 'As a person responsible for hiring talent into the 137 year old Eli Lilly and Company, I see, without question, the value of a Wabash College liberal arts education in today's world and today's economy. I see a Wabash College liberal arts education as an education that directly produces the most critical knowledge based attributes I look for when making my hiring decisions.'
- Several alumni returned to campus to talk with students and parents. Rob Rudicel '92, a biology major and classics minor is now a pediatrician. When asked how he felt when he graduated from Wabash he simply said, 'if you make it here it's really something.'
- Scott Benedict '98 graduated with a degree in economics. He is now the Senior Vice President with TX: Team.
- Tyler Buresh '12 majored in physics and played football for four years at Wabash. He is contracted into the Department of Defense's Computer/Electronic Accommodations program.
- Allen Clingler '02 resides in Chicago and works for The Northern Trust Company where he is Vice President and Private Banker. He majored in psychology and minored in French at Wabash.
- Director of Digital Media Howard Hewitt served as the panel moderator.
- Emmanuel Aouad '10 was a two-time All American and captain of the track team while participating in the jazz band at Wabash. He majored in economics and minored in music. He is a Process Analyst at State Farm.
- Ben Seib '02 graduated from Wabash with an economics major and Spanish minor. While at Wabash he served as the IFC President and Secretary and was Vice President of the Glee Club. He is now the Vice President of Finance at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
- Being a fairly young alum has not stopped Charlie Kelly '11 from paving his own way. As a Governor Orr Entrepreneurial Fellow at Bluefish Wireless he began building web and mobile applications. He currently leads an independent web and mobile application development company in Indianapolis.
Nearly 150 high school seniors heard prominent alumni along with President Gregory Hess tell them Wabash would help shape not just their careers but their lives. The annual Top 10 Visitation Day gives prospective students an in-depth look at Wabash College.
“Wabash is a little college with a giant footprint,” President Hess said in his welcome. “Many schools you visit will make you promises like comfy dorm rooms or a rock wall. We will make you one singular promise. We will take you seriously. As a student here you will become infinitely and intimately connected to our network of alumni. We will do everything in our power to make your dreams come true.”
The Top 10 program focuses on students who rank in the Top 10 percent of their high school graduating class. That distinction plus attendance at the Top 10 day assures admitted students of an annual scholarship of $17,500.
The day is designed for the young men to have an on-campus experience in the classroom and to hear from Wabash alums. Brian Edelman ’82, VP of Corporate Finance and Investment Banking for Eli Lilly, gave the keynote address.
“What’s the value of the liberal arts,” Edelman began. “The liberal arts college asks, ‘What should every college graduate know?’ vs. other institutions that ask, ‘What should every college graduate know how to do.’
“Liberal arts graduates have flexible and adaptable minds, are able to think analytically, read critically, and write clearly. They are problem solvers and can communicate solutions.”
While some parents worry what their sons will do with a liberal arts degree, Edelman assured parents and students that a liberal arts education will best prepare the young men for success.
“As the person responsible for the hiring at Eli Lilly I am looking for the following characteristics: intelligent, have a history of working hard, have led others effectively, is a good communicator,” he explained. “Wabash College directly produces what I’m looking for in a hire. One-quarter of the CFO staff (of 16) at Lilly are Wabash grads.”
After the keynote, the students and parents focused in on the details with more alums. Students first met with a panel of young alums while the parents followed with a different group of graduates.
“Be prepared to be challenged and pushed. My fraternity brothers told me ‘You aren’t cutting it,’” said Scott Benedict ’98. “When I thought I hit my limit I pushed a little more, went a little further and set a new limit. You keep doing that you find there isn’t anything you can’t do.”
One parent, probably like many in the audience, asked the alums how a student makes a decision when they don’t have a particular career path in mind.
“The real benefit of Wabash is it teaches you to learn and figure it out,” responded Charlie Kelly ‘11. “I absolutely support the liberal arts – especially for those who don’t know what they want to do.”
Rob Rudicel ‘92 uses his personal experience to convince Wabash is a great choice. “Guys are going to be 18 – they have to make their own decision,” he said. “They need to know there is no back row at Wabash. Their professors are going to know them. They are going to be there to help them. Help [your sons] really think about what they want to get out of college.”
The participating alumni on the two panels were: Emmanuel Aouad ’10, Process Analyst, State Farm Insurance: Scott Benedict ’98, Senior VP TX: Team; Tyler Buresh ’12, Computer/Electronic Accommodations, Dept. of Defense; Allen Clingler ’02, VP and Private Banker, The Northern Trust Company; Charlie Kelly ’11, Founder, FindJive; Rob Rudicel ’92, Pediatrician, North Star Pediatrics; Ben Seib, VP Finance, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.