Why I Became a Wabash Manby Rudy Altergott '13 • December 16, 2009
When I first began my college search, I had no idea what Wabash College was, or how it had impacted so many of its proud alumni. As a confused high school junior not sure where he intended to go, I attended a Colleges That Change Lives college fair, where I met Kim King ’99, who has become an invaluable friend. He was my introduction to Wabash.
Weeks later at a gathering at my house, I spoke with my friend Melissa Endsley, who revealed that her dad, Terry Endsley ’77, was a Wabash man. Mr. Endsley would become vital to my joining the Scarlet brotherhood, meeting with me and helping me answer my questions about the College.
After those meetings, I arranged a visit on Sunday and Monday of Columbus Day Weekend. The moment I set foot on the campus and laid eyes upon the Chapel, I was smitten. I left my visit strongly considering attending Wabash.
As months progressed, I learned of more local men who attended Wabash, including Mr. George Kumis ’70, a member of my high school’s school board. I attended Honors Scholar Weekend, staying with my friends at Theta Delta Chi, and was convinced this was where I was going to go. I had so much fun that I told my mom I didn’t want to come home!
I went through the motions of other college visits, but those places didn’t have the mystique, the presence, and the people that Wabash had.
Then came the moment that solidified my choice.
In mid-April, Mr. Endsley died from a brain tumor. He had been sick for a short while, and I was saddened by his suffering, as well as the possibility that Melissa and her family might lose him. When he did die, I was grief-stricken. I asked why this had to happen to such a good man.
Then I realized that no matter what the reason, I would repay him for his kindness by attending Wabash and spreading the fame of her honored name.
That sense of purpose has only elevated my love for this place. And the fact that men like Professor William Cook ’66, the late Professor Bill Placher ’70, retired Air Force colonel Mr. Tom Runge ’71, and Dean Michael Raters ’85, among others, return to this College or give to it in any way they can to keep it flourishing, is a testament to its worth.
I consider myself part of the greatest family, and I am humbled to know that I am being supported by it. In the words of the legendary Coach Rob Johnson, “I am a Wabash man!”
With that mantra, I cannot fail.
—edited from Rudy’s post at wabashstories.com