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Past Presidents


Eilhu W. Baldwin“I shall devote myself to the instruction of the youth…Our hope is that no sacrifices in this noble cause will be lost, and that we shall enjoy the privilege of seeing our institution realize the expectations of its patrons and the friendly public…Our purpose is never to rest while Wabash College shall lack any advantages for the student, which are offered by the highest class of American colleges.” - Elihu W. Baldwin, First President, Inaugurated July 13, 1836


Charles White“Whoever exerts an influence here, exerts an influence upon many individuals and upon great interests elsewhere. Whoever communicates any portion of his opinions or his character to young men here, communicates them to all after ages.” - Charles White, Second President, Inaugurated July 19, 1841


Joseph F. Tuttle“I address myself to the alumni of this College. You are our joy and our crown. As you go out among men, we ask you to remember this College, as the mother who bore you. Speak of her sometimes in those terms of fondness which shall be so grateful to her ear and so potent in the esteem of society, as ‘our College,’ as ‘Old Wabash’…showing that you would rather lose the music of your own tongues that to forget Alma Mater.” - Joseph Ferrand Tuttle, Third President, Inaugurated July 24, 1862


George Stockton Burroughs“So, this hour, grateful for the Wabash of the past…we together – students, teachers, trustees, alumni, friends of the College – together we pledge ourselves to the Wabash of today, to the Wabash of tomorrow.” - George Stockton Burroughs, Fourth President, Inaugurated June 21, 1893


William Patterson Kane“The historic college is built upon the idea that its work is to educate men.  Not simply to educate the intellect nor to train the hand or the eye or any other fractional part, but to educate the man himself. The work of the old-fashioned college is to lay the foundation for a complete manhood. Its aim is not to make specialists, but to make men.” - William Patterson Kane, Fifth President, Inaugurated February 22, 1900


George Lewes MackintoshIn assuming the duties of President of Wabash College I am not unmindful that humility most of all becomes me. When one has in mind the five presidents who were here and are not, it does not yet seem quite credible that one like myself is the sixth…One can only beg that he may not be altogether unworthy of his predecessors.” - George Lewes Mackintosh, Sixth President, Inaugurated June 12, 1907


Louis Bertram Hopkins“It is essential…that the whole problem of individualizing education be kept in the foreground in the shaping of educational policies, in the administration of college affairs, and in the instruction of students. These, then, are the opportunities that our predecessors have handed down to us. May we in turn keep the faith and assist those whom we admit to our institution in their intellectual development; may we inspire them to right living; may we encourage them to search for the truth and reveal to them the significance of the message…that the truth shall make them free.” - Louis Bertram Hopkins, Seventh President, Inaugurated December 3, 1926:


Frank Hugh Sparks“Every day at Wabash should be regarded as an important day…full of the realization that here are citizens in the making…In its student body is the life blood of any school. For students it was founded – for students it should live…Friends of Wabash, let us join together this day…in a new pledge of cooperation and in a new dedication of effort for a stronger, more powerful, more effective Wabash.” - Frank Hugh Sparks, Eighth President, Inaugurated October 25, 1941:


Byron Kightly Trippet“There is a poetic quality about such a college. Its poetry is in its past. It is in the fact that for a century and a quarter students and teachers, trustees and friends, much like ourselves, have studied and played and worked and worshipped here, and now they are gone as we must shortly go…On this occasion, we who now constitute Wabash – students, teachers, trustees, alumni and friends – could do no better than to resolve to match the courage, the vision and the energy of our predecessors. If we do, we shall lift this college to still higher levels of usefulness, distinction, and honor.” - Byron Kightly Trippet, Ninth President, Inaugurated October 13, 1956


Paul W. Cook“The men of Wabash will not break faith with the humane tradition or with their history. We will be relentless in our pursuit of excellence. We will continue to develop men to lead and to serve. We will not compromise our sense of high purpose.” - Paul W. Cook, Tenth President, Inaugurated December 3, 1966:


Thaddeus Seymour“I want to see Wabash continue to excel as a small, independent, liberal arts college for men. That forthright definition will be the text for my remarks this morning, the convictions of one who believes with all his being that our type of college, that our own College, continues today with the special mission of service which motivated its founding; that Wabash will best serve by producing men of balanced judgment, broad knowledge and good character – ‘Scientiae et Virtuti,’ know-how and guts.” - Thaddeus Seymour, Eleventh President, Inaugurated October 10, 1969


Lewis Spencer Salter“If education at Wabash is anything, it is the cultivation of the intellect…the acquisition of skills which enable us to dissect and construct arguments, to disentangle the valid from the specious, and to order our beliefs in some proportion to the weight of evidence supporting those beliefs.” - Lewis Spencer Salter, Twelfth President, Inaugurated October 10, 1978


F. Sheldon Wettack“Thus a tradition for exceptional teaching in the liberal arts was begun. Names from the past like Mills, Thomas, Gronert, Brigance, Rogge, Haenisch, and Dean have carried this tradition forward, helping to create the richness for which a Wabash education so well known…Whether one looks at leadership activity, professional impact, or the percentage of graduates attaining the Ph.D., Wabash ranks with the finest institutions in the country.” - F. Sheldon Wettack, Thirteenth President, Inaugurated December 3, 1989:


Andrew T. Ford“Wabash is not simply a four-year college for men; Wabash is a lifetime experience for men and their families. It is not simply a four-year liberal arts program; Wabash is the beginning of one’s independent life. It is not merely preparation for the real world; Wabash is participation in the real world. It is not rules, regulations, and judicial procedures; Wabash is trust, responsibility, and caring. It is not unique in the candor, rigor, and caring of the classroom experience. Wabash is above all about making men better.” - Andrew T. Ford, Fourteenth President, Inaugurated January 29, 1994


Patrick E. White“At Wabash, liberal education is not a package to be acquired, nor a problem that is solved, but a constantly renewed question, a disposition of the heart and mind as much as a curriculum. The liberal arts mark a way of being in the world…(We) recognize that in the defining terms of citizen and gentleman lie a lifelong project of critical thinking and exploration of ethics, art, and culture reaching for a complete understanding of what it means to be a gentleman, what it means to be a citizen.” - Patrick E. White, Fifteenth President, Inaugurated January 27, 2007


Gregory D. Hess“Our true academic mission — to liberally educate each and every student — is a timeless reminder of the lives we change here at Wabash College, one young man at a time. For while the problems facing higher education and the world are complex, the solutions need not be. Amidst the jostle and the fray and the haranguing static and noise that often surround our academic endeavor, stands our foundation: the simple gifts of the liberal arts. These profound gifts — the ability to act, to see, and to speak — are the bedrock that underpin teaching and learning at Wabash College.” - Gregory D. Hess, Sixteenth President, Inaugurated October 11, 2013