Summer 1998

Editor's Note

The day after I began working at Wabash in March of 1995, an elderly gentleman stepped into my office, extended his hand and said, "Welcome to Wabash College." Though I was honored by his hospitality, I was too new to the place to realize that I was talking to one of the College's legendary teachers, and I've always regretted not conning him into sharing a story or two. Still, I feel fortunate to have met Professor Jack Charles that day.

As I've learned more about Wabash history, I've developed a growing list of past Wabash "personalities" I wish I could have met, and high on that roll is Robert Petty, the ecologist/poet featured in this issue's "From Our Archives."

Petty's 1982 LaFollette Lecture, "The Margins of Knowledge," is a quintessential statement on the strength of liberal arts learning and the community in which it occurs. His vision also anticipated the important role interdisciplinary courses of study will play in the liberal arts education of the future. That increased importance makes the faculty's recent strengthening of those types of interdisciplinary courses of study (see "From Center Hall") as far-sighted and wise as Petty's own vision.

But the learning agility that a liberal arts education provides has an even more immediate effect in the world outside academia. The work of Frank Hagaman '72 offers an excellent example of such agility, and you'll read about his organization Partners in Housing in this issue of Wabash Magazine. As a mediator between the "fields" of business, historical preservation, and social services, Hagaman has proven how society needs men who can work "at the frayed borders between their own understanding and the unique knowledge of others," utilizing the resources of many fields to improve a community and serve its citizens.

Our own community at Wabash will be without four of its more celebrated citizens this fall. Professors Hall Peebles, Bernie Manker, Roy Miller, and Les Hearson have retired from the College, and our "Faculty Notes" department is a tribute to their contributions to the College and their students.

Thanks for reading Wabash Magazine, and don't forget to keep in touch with us by sending your latest news to our Class Notes editor, Karen Handley. You can write to her at:

Class Notes, Wabash College, P.O. Box 352, Crawfordsville, IN 47933, or by e-mail:

Steve Charles
Editor, Wabash Magazine

"I do believe that all of us can and do learn much at the far margins of our own disciplines, at the frayed borders between our own understanding and the unique knowledge of others." -Professor of Biology Robert Petty, February 24, 1982

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