Speakers Urge Students to Reach Out Honors Weekendby Howard W. Hewitt • March 19, 2009
Honor Scholarship Weekend has long been one of the College’s most important dates on the calendar. As a matter of fact, the tradition goes back 116 years.
Nearly 400 high school seniors will be on campus this weekend learning more about Wabash first-hand and taking tests that can determine scholarship and placement.
As the College gears up for the pivotal weekend, the Thursday Chapel served as a pep rally to fire up Wabash men to welcome those considering Wabash for their college education.
Five speakers shared the podium to urge students to talk to the visitors as students before them reached out when they were still in high school.
Dean of Admissions Steve Klein compared the week to the Monon Bell where the key players are preparing in detail but the whole campus is involved. "This is your chance to show these young men how Wabash can transform their lives the way our competitors cannot," he said.
Junior Gary James followed Klein and echoed the theme of reaching out. He recalled his Honor Scholars experience when Tim Flowers ’06 pulled him aside. James was accepted at a number of prestigious east coast universities but took Flowers’ advice to come and "be a big fish in a small pond."
Chemistry Professor Scott Feller mixed a little humor with message and told the students it’s important to find what is special about each young man and if Wabash is the right fit. "What can we learn to help them know this is the right place," he asked.
Then, noting nearly 400 students will be here, he urged the 900 students and 200-plus faculty and staff to each interact with just one student over the weekend. The numbers suggest each young man would feel the family atmosphere the leads men to Wabash.
Dr. John Roberts ’83 joked he had failed in his primary mission as Wabash alum, with a freshman son enrolled at Wooster. But after the laughter, he said his son’s college search taught him that no one connects with incoming students the way it’s done at Wabash. "My favorite thing here is that the students, faculty/staff and alumni are one family here," he said.
Senior Steve Egan learned about Wabash after blowing up his knee as a high school football player. He was referred to one of the country’s top knee specialists, Dr. Don Shelbourne ’72 who insisted he visit Wabash College before deciding on his college.
"I kept thinking," Egan said, "why would anyone care if someone attended their alma mater?"
After pondering that for some time and now near the end of his Wabash career, he urged students to reach out to the visitors so Wabash remains the great institution 20 years from now that it is today.
Honor Scholarship weekend is two days of orientation, testing, fun, and lots of questions and answers.